There are many advantages to having a mediated divorce as opposed to a litigated or even a collaborative one. Two of the key advantages, as we’ve discussed here before, are that they’re less expensive and they give couples a chance to work out their own agreements – under the guidance of a neutral mediator.
Divorce mediation has become increasingly popular. However, there are still some misconceptions that keep some couples from even considering it. One of these is the belief that couples must have an amicable relationship to successfully settle their divorce via mediation.
That’s not necessarily the case. Granted, if two people are refusing to speak to each other, let alone work together, mediation isn’t going to succeed. However, when they both believe that a mediated divorce is best for their children or simply the best way to end the marriage without a long, drawn-out battle, couples can find the motivation to work together.
Of course, spouses still need to have some level of trust in each other. If one spouse appears to be hiding assets or is making unfounded claims about the other’s ability to parent, they’re probably not going to be able to work out fair agreements. However, if you still basically trust your spouse and agree on common goals like raising happy, healthy children or just “settling up” and moving on, it can work.
Mediation can help with co-parenting
For couples who will be sharing custody of their children, mediation can help them transition to co-parenting. Working out a parenting plan together is a good first step to raising your children across two households. When you’re able to agree on terms rather than have an order come down from a judge, you’re more likely to follow them rather than harbor resentment toward your co-parent.
Just spending some time discussing what you both want for your kids without your lawyers in the middle of things can help you transition to being good co-parents. If your kids are old enough to understand that you’re working together despite your negative feelings, you’re modeling responsible adult behavior.
Mediation isn’t for everyone, and a responsible mediator will tell you if they don’t think it’s right for you. However, it’s wise to learn more about it before you decide what kind of divorce is best for you and your family.