Divorce and separation can be an emotionally and legally overwhelming experiences. Litigation involves hiring lawyers and going to court where lawyers will negotiate or argue positions and a Judge will decide the outcome of the case, with little thought given to the needs and desires of the family. The court process is antagonistic in nature; an “us” vs. “them”` process often leaving couples financially strapped, more hurt, angrier and less able to co-parent together.
Mediation, in contrast, focuses on the couple and their children, helps to reduce conflict, is less stressful, is more cost effective, and allows parties to control the outcome by creating an agreement tailored to the unique needs of the family.
- Cost effective and efficient: The parties will hire one agreed upon Mediator. In mediation, the parties determine the length of the mediation sessions, when the sessions will take place, and the issues to be discussed and resolved at each session. Litigation requires taking time off from work or away from family obligations according to the availability of the attorneys and the Court, and making numerous trips to the Courthouse to address the legal case.
- A Mediated Agreement is unique: Mediation is a non-adversarial conflict resolution process that enables couples to discuss disagreements and focus on problem solving. Mediators are trained as neutral facilitators who will assist the parties to make decisions that are personal to the family’s needs rather than a “one size fits all” approach that might result after litigation.
- Mediation is Child focused: While parties will no longer be Husband and Wife after a divorce, they will always be parents to their children. Working together to reach a resolution will address the children’s needs and improve communication by shifting from adversarial to problem-solving resulting in more effective co-parenting in the future. In litigation, children can be dragged into conflict. The more adversarial the divorce, the less emotionally and physically available parents are to their children at a time when they need parents the most. An attorney may be appointed for the children. The family may be ordered to undergo a forensic evaluation. At the end of litigation, parents and children are left emotionally fragile, angry and faced with complying with an agreement or a decision rendered by the Court that may not reflect the family’s needs.