Contrary to popular belief, not all spouses that decide to divorce actually hate each other. Many simply don’t feel that same spark that they once did for one another and just get divorced to give themselves something to live for once again. In those cases, couples may simply want to work out a settlement regarding their finances or custody via mediation as opposed to pursuing contentious litigation.
Mediation is best suited for spouses who have little to no power imbalance between them. It’s an effective way for them to come to the negotiation table and hash out child custody, property and other potentially contentious matters in a relaxed environment that’s refereed by an independent and unbiased third party.
Finding a mediator that’s right for you is like trying to find a therapist that’s a good fit for your condition. You may wish to seek out referrals from others who have previously pursued mediation, and you may need to interview your short list of mediators to see which one you gel with best.
You may be better served by having a family law attorney or retired judge serve as your mediator as opposed to a therapist. One reason that you may want to do this is that it’s unlikely that a couples’ counselor will have the necessary understanding of all the legal ramifications of certain decisions that you may make.
Therapists are also generally precluded from drafting an agreement for you. This can be a problem since it’s necessary to have one approved by a judge in order to finalize your divorce.
It’s important that you keep in mind that the mediator’s role is much different from a judge’s. The former is supposed to guide you in brokering an agreement with your ex that you’re going to ultimately feel comfortable with. A judge’s role is to make decisions for you when it seems that you two cannot agree.
If you and your ex are capable of communicating effectively with one another, then mediation may be a cost-effective and quicker way to resolve your differences compared with litigation. A divorce mediation attorney can help you determine whether you’re ready for a new approach to resolving your differences with your ex.