To Mediate or Not to Mediate?
Updated: Sep 11, 2018
Never assume that the only way to move through a divorce is by going to court. Although there may be certain cases that absolutely cannot be settled without court intervention, mediation and collaborative law often present much better avenues for resolving high-conflict divorce issues than litigation.
If you have been served or have decided to serve your spouse papers, mediation almost always presents a better alternative to litigation because it offers a non-adversarial setting. The first and often the most important step, is to find a lawyer who is committed to exhausting all avenues of mediation and is intentional about avoiding court at all costs.
A good attorney that focuses on mediation usually has a group of quality mediators that they work with who share the same ideology in dispute resolution. There can be conflict in mediation, however the conflict is contained so it can’t be blown out of control. If you go to court, you’re lighting a match without knowing the direction of the flames. No matter the size of the dispute whether it is a complicated divorce or a simple one, once something catches fire you may never regain enough control to refocus the case. Rest asured good mediator is able to combine all of the individual issues into the single goal of producing a settlement agreement.
Most cases usually involve two people with deeply-embedded hostility, whose modality of dealing with stress is attack. If they engage in litigation, they’re likely to develop layers upon layers of conflict and mistrust. The result is a negative relationship in which the spouses are unable to trust each other enough to agree to anything. They become habituated to conflict to a point where they begin to seek it as a way to cope with their anxiety. Often the stress and pressure of long drown our court proceedings or the final judgement leaves one or both parties feeling hostile towards the other. If children are involved this hostility can and often does, infect the children for years to come.
The mediator led by a sure footed attorney looks for leverage to persuade each party to bring his or her “best self” to the table. Mediation should be the mutual ultimate goal of all parties involved in any divorce settlement.
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