Divorce mediation doesn't have the same ring to it as "divorce court," which is probably why it hasn't caught on as a reality TV series. But the fact that it wouldn't make good entertainment also probably makes it a better option for regular people.
We can't be the only people who think the similarity between the words "mediation" and "meditation" makes them both sound like something hippies would promote.
It probably doesn't help that mediation is "alternative" -- as in, it's a form of alternative dispute resolution. But it's a good option for anyone who wants to avoid a fight, and especially for couples with children.
The court process can be good for many people, but it's not called an adversarial system for nothing. It pits two sides against each other in a search for truth.
But in divorce, there isn't necessarily one truth. There are two people with their own needs and expectations, and the court process often has a hard time allowing for two winners -- or at least two satisfied parties.
In mediation, the goal is different. Rather than pitting two people against each other, the point is to reconcile two viewpoints into one compromised agreement.
The mediator's role it to bring the parties together by facilitating a discussion between them. Hopefully having an objective third party will help each side better understand the other and lead to compromise instead of fighting.
That's especially important for couples who have to continue sharing obligations after a divorce, like people who will have shared custody of children.
The court process doesn't do anything to try maintain a civil relationship between you and your ex, even though that will be important for schedule-juggling down the road.
In medition, the focus is on preserving what remaining relationship you have so that you can continue working together for the sake of the kids.
But what happens if it doesn't work? Nothing bad, that's what.
If mediation isn't successful, you can always go back to court. Your attorney can even support you in the mediation and then help you with court filings if it doesn't work. There's very little risk in trying it.
But what you could gain by the process is significant. If you have the option to make your divorced life easier, you should at least give it a try.
- Divorce (FindLaw)
- What are the Disadvantages of Mediation? (FindLaw)
- The Gosselin Divorce: Is Arbitration Good For You? (FindLaw's Celebrity Justice)
- Get Access to an On-Call Lawyer With a LegalStreet Plan (LegalStreet.com)
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