Well, what you never thought would happen is happening. You are getting a divorce. Nothing is going to stop it. You have committed to this course of action, and it is already in process.
The question is, how can you go through the divorce with the least amount of stress, animosity, and frustration?
Consider getting a divorce mediator.
What Is a Mediator in a Divorce?
A mediator in a divorce is a professional who acts as an impartial third party to help negotiate divorce terms.
What is mediation in a divorce? It is the process by which the mediator (or third party) helps to identify and resolve problems that might affect the divorce.
Divorce mediation can be much cheaper than just going through lawyers. Major points of contention can be hashed out privately instead of in an embarrassing display in a public courtroom.
What Happens in Divorce Mediation?
How a divorce mediation proceeds will depend on the mediator. Divorce mediators can come from diverse backgrounds, from financial to therapeutic. They can be lawyers, accountants, therapists, or lay ministers. For each of them, their answer to the question of what is mediation in divorce may be slightly different.
For example, some faith-based mediators may put a priority in trying to save the marriage instead of focusing exclusively on the divorce negotiations. This can be problematic, however.
According to Lee Borden, a professional divorce mediator, mediators that focus on saving the marriage may not be able to give the best service to couples when it comes to divorce. They might miss out on important issues related to finances or taxes, which couples also think about as they’re going through a divorce. Additionally, there could also be a tendency for a mediator to begin taking sides, one reason Borden doesn’t work to save marriages.
Instead, his process of divorce mediation includes drafting a formal “Agreement to Mediate” and then encouraging the former spouses to decide whether they want lawyers present during the mediation. He says that most of his clients do not elect to bring lawyers to the meditation meetings.
During the sessions, the mediator tries to keep things focused on the issues at hand, not past resentments or hurts.
“I allow a minimal amount of ‘digging’ about interpersonal issues from the past before I step in and insist that mediation is about the present and the future,” Borden explains. “Interpersonal relationship issues are relevant only insofar as they affect the present and the future. I am task-focused, meaning I concentrate on the finite number of issues that must be resolved for the divorce to be completed. If a discussion doesn’t relate to one of those issues, I point that out and encourage the couple to move on.”
Divorce Mediation Is Not for Everyone
While divorce mediation can be a very helpful process that reduces animosity and lowers the costs of divorce, it is not for everyone.
One of the main reasons mediation may not be appropriate is emotional or physical abuse.
According to WomansDivorce.com, “Both parties need to feel free to express their opinions without fear of reprisal. A couple should be able to deal fairly with each other and discuss the issues that need to be resolved, and be open to compromise.”
Divorce mediation also requires a qualified, talented mediator to work. For people in certain areas, especially rural towns, finding a good divorce mediator might be challenging. While some mediators may be able to work effectively via phone or Skype, in-person mediation might be the best option for some former couples.
Mediation also costs money. While it should ultimately save money in the long run for many divorce cases, cost is still a factor. A really good, experienced divorce mediator might cost $200 an hour or more. While this can still be a lot cheaper than a divorce attorney, some couples might decide they are able to self-mediate and get through the divorce on their own without a lot of hassle.
Should You Consider Divorce Mediation?
If you have a lot of financial issues to sort through, child custody to work out, and other issues with splitting property, you might find that working with a divorce mediator helps. You can save money, reduce strife in the family, and speed up your actual divorce proceedings.