Divorce Mediation – The Process and Its Perceived Advantages and Disadvantages

Today, for significant portion of adult and children marital and family relations are neither straightforward nor stable. In the US, according to the recent researches 13.8 million children, 25% of those under the age of 18, are living with only one parent and another 5 million children in two parents homes live with a biological parent and a step parent. And it is a clear estimation that half of the marriages will end up in divorce.

Now, when the problem of family disruption is a widespread, the question of how to minimize the pain of disruption arises with growing number of professional.

If we are establishing minor dispute mediation centers in the country and developing effective divorce mediation efforts, however not only must we be knowledgeable about the process of mediation but we must also ground the knowledge in substantive understanding of the broad-range impact of the divorce on people’s lives.

According to a research, there are at least “six divorces” contained in any marital breakup which count as emotional, legal, economic, co-parent, community, and psychic divorce.

Today, as mediation is very common, some states of the US have quite constant and broad use of divorce mediation e.g. Taxes and Connecticut. On contrary, in many other states the divorce process is made complex and difficult hoping that this will improve the quality of families. In fact this attempt has saved many marriages but, if the marriages cannot be saved what is the next alternative?

Usually divorcing couples lack information about the divorce process and are unnecessarily fearful of what may happen. Many just wanted to know their rights for years; the “knee jerk” reaction was “I’ll get an attorney.”

This is at the responsibility of the divorcing couples that they should supply themselves with sufficient enough knowledge about divorce so that they have a choice of which divorce process is best for them. In most of the situations at least 95 percent of all divorce cases settle rather than being tried to conclusion.

A divorcing couple must subject themselves by asking how much time and energy do they waste on the way to a hostile or angry settlement? Are there better ways to achieve settlement? The answer is yes! There are better ways to achieve settlement. Divorcing couples should consider their options in a constructive and progressive manner starting with the least hostile approach, divorce mediation.

The term “mediation” got significance in the area of family law for about 25 years now. As the family problems are becoming extensive, likewise divorce has become so very common. And thus every involved one is in search of an effective a way-out. A divorcing couple knows that divorce just doesn’t end everything about a marriage, though it ends the legal contract between a husband and a wife but, it shatters the household that was based on that marriage. It also cannot break the relationship that the children of the marriage create merely by existing.

Mediation, also called as “alternative dispute resolution” is a process by which an impartial third person (sometimes more than one person) helps two discordant parties to resolve dispute through a mutual concession and face-face negotiation. A mediator is a trained professional who doesn’t force rather assists the parties in their own negotiation without making decisions for the parties. A mediator rather help the parties understand what is happening to them and encourages them to negotiate in good faith that brings fruitful results in future.

Mediators most often are appointed by the court, usually with agreement by the lawyers for both sides. Mediators come in several varieties. Some of them are professional private mediators, many of whom are lawyers. They eliminate the need for a jury trial about 90 percent of the time. Others are volunteer mediators and many of them are retired attorneys or nonlawyers trained by Dispute Resolution Services. Their settlement rate is 65 to 70 percent most of the times.

After a long course of hard work, if divorce mediation doesn’t suit, the parties should consider a collaborative law divorce. It is a process in which the parties and their attorneys agree to resolve all issues in an atmosphere of cooperation, honesty and integrity with out being engaged in adversarial tactics in or out of court.

If divorce mediation and collaborative divorce do not work for a given couple, the parties may choose the adversarial approach (keeping its cost in mind).

Mediators often seek to better meet the supposed advantages of the mediation process over litigation. The general benefits and advantages argued to be seen as a result of divorce mediation include:

– Both the parties are free to air their concern.

– A neutral person assists both the parties

– The approach is always nonadversarial

– Both the parties have control over the outcome

– The costs are cut to a great extent

– No one’s privacy is hurt

– A settlement agreement according to the family’s needs

– Avoidance of litigation

Extensive researches show that mediation is the appropriate way but the argument is the field is still lacking knowledge on the effect of personality styles on mediation outcome. Despite substantial support for divorce mediation disadvantages do exist.

Divorce mediation may not be appropriate for both the spouses undergoing the process. It has several disadvantages as well:

– The other spouse may not cooperate and you can’t force him/her.

– The other party may try to show dominance over you and here a court lawyer can only offset the imbalance.

– The other spouse may frighten or threaten you, and once a spouse is afraid of personal safety, the participation interest drastically drops down.

– Others argue that the decrease in the cost of mediation and the higher fee of lawyers is due to their high expertise in the field and only they can better predict the appropriate outcome of the case.

Therefore, every divorcing couple must try to settle down their marital issues within themselves. If they can’t go that way at least they must not hide anything from one another and should undergo the mediation process leading to a conclusion. In circumstances, the situation goes out of hand and both the spouses cannot reach to conformity, the traditional adversarial approach could be a final resort (bearing the costs in mind).