ADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION
Some of the advantages of mediation are that it:
• Minimizes conflict. In everyday circumstances, conflict is a normal part of life. During periods of great transition and stress, such as divorce or separation, conflict can play an even bigger role and communication can become more challenging. Under stress we regress. Mediation provides a structured process which helps to manage and minimize conflict, and fosters healthier communication patterns.
• Promotes self-determination. The people who best understand their own needs and the needs of their children retain control over the decisions which will affect their future lives. This is in contrast to having a judge make those decisions for them, which is what happens if one goes to court. Also, people are more likely to comply with an agreement that they themselves fashioned.
• Is cooperative and healthier for the children. Mediation keeps all members of the family and their support people on the same team: husband, wife, children, counselors, attorneys, CPA’s and other financial experts are all working cooperatively together. In contrast, litigation separates husband, husband’s attorney, counselor and financial experts from wife, wife’s attorney, counselor, financial experts…with the children being caught in the middle, or worse, being used by both parents to fight against each other.
• Provides the parties with the tools to structure an agreement which is in their, and their chidren’s, best interests. As a mediator, I ensure that the needs and interests of both husband and wife, or both partners if never married, are understood and articulated, in a balanced way, while at the same time helping them keep a focus on their common interest: what is best for the children. Several factors intrinsic to divorce tend to mitigate against fairness and balance: the initiator typically experiences guilt, which can result in a tendency to give away too much; while the other spouse typically experiences abandonment, which can result in a tendency to either want revenge or to withdraw and find it difficult to advocate for one’s own needs. Divorce always involves loss, and often one party has done most of his/her grieving in the marriage, while the other is in earlier stages of grief. It is helpful to have a neutral third party who can manage the dynamics that result.
• Helps with the exchange of information, ideas and alternatives for settlement. The complexity of information, especially financial information and the frequent situation that both spouses/partners do not have equal access to or understanding of the financial information is also a factor that the mediation process helps with.