Mediation is growing in popularity as an alternative to litigation for divorcing couples. Below are six reasons it can lead to better outcomes.
More Control Over Outcomes
If a case goes to litigation, it is a judge and not the couple themselves who will be making decisions. If either person is unhappy with the final decision, they have little recourse. Mediation allows people to keep negotiating until they reach a compromise both are happy with. In particular, parents may prefer mediation because even though a judge tries to make decisions that are in the child’s best interests, parents may feel that they ultimately have a better sense of what those best interests are.
Better for Children
Mediation is better for children in another way as well. It protects the children from the open conflict that often characterizes litigation. Furthermore, studies have shown that children adjust better to divorce when their parents go through mediation. Mediation also teaches valuable coparenting skills that parents can use with one another after the divorce.
Geared Toward Problem-Solving
One of the biggest differences in litigation and mediation is that litigation takes an adversarial stance while mediation aims toward cooperation. In other words, in litigation, there is a winner and a loser while in mediation, the aim is toward a resolution that satisfies all parties.
Quicker and Less Expensive
Litigation can lead to a lengthy and costly divorce. The cost may not only be the price of the divorce itself but the post-divorce settlement. Through mediation, a couple may reach a settlement that feels fair to both parties. Mediation may also be quicker than going through the court system where a divorce case can sometimes drag on for years.
Creativity and Flexibility
Litigation is not renowned for introducing these qualities into divorce proceedings despite the fact that many property division and child custody arrangements could benefit. Mediation provides the opportunity for a couple to negotiate unique solutions to individual circumstances.
Ultimately, mediation may result in a more stable situation for the entire family from an emotional and financial point of view. Emotionally, the process of mediation helps couples work through their differences and focus on problem-solving in a process that they can return to after the divorce if needed. Financially, both parties may feel more secure. Because they have both had a hand in crafting the agreement, a lower-earning partner is more likely to feel they have sufficient financial resources and the higher-earning partner is more likely to feel they can manage any support they might be paying.
Not every couple can work through their problems using mediation, but for those who can, they and their children may be much happier with results than they would be after litigation.