People have a range of preconceptions about divorce, the law, and the courts. In reality, going before a judge to air your grievances about your soon-to-be ex-spouse is rarely as satisfying as movies and television shows may have you believe. Mediation offers a private, cost-efficient alternative to litigation—but before you choose either venue, there are some guiding principles to keep in mind:
- Don't expect to “win” your divorce. People hope to beat their spouses in court, but seldom is there a winner in divorce.
- Don't make decisions without thinking them through. You're going to make life-changing decisions during this time, so resist impulsive reactions.
- You're getting divorced, not your children. Don't put the children in the middle or use them as pawns and messengers between yourselves.
- Don't believe everything you hear from other people. All divorces have different sets of issues. Rely on the advice you get from your professionals.
- Forget the past and prepare for the future. Don't get hung up on small matters.
Once you’ve mastered these five steps, you will be in a place to make a more informed decision about how you should proceed with your divorce. The reasons you may want to choose mediation to settle your divorce include:
- It can be less costly: Most of the time you will only need to meet with one mediation professional.
- You get more personal attention: Mediation allows each party to speak, and be heard, individually.
- Greater confidentiality: Meetings are private and not held in a courtroom where the public can hear everything.
- Flexibility: You can meet at times that work for you as opposed to being told when your court date is.
- Mediation protects your children from conflicts: In litigation, children may be required to appear in court, whereas in mediation the focus is going to be on the welfare of the children.
- Mediation offers more opportunity: The voluntary aspect of mediation means that couples can go above and beyond the law in order to tailor plans that suit their needs.
- Mediation allows for greater post-divorce stability: Specifically tailored financial and custody arrangements make it less likely that any post-divorce modifications will need to be made to your agreement.
You tell me: Doesn't mediation make more sense than litigation?