As one of the methods of ADL (alternative dispute resolution), mediation allows people to resolve the issue without litigation, so they have more power over the process. Although mediation is often used in disputes in business, such as in the relationship between business and customer or between employee and employer, it can also be effectively used in divorce processes. Mediation allows the couple to resolve their legal, financial, and social disputes by reaching unanimity in a more private way than the judicial process.
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First, mediation allows people to restore or keep a relatively good relationship. In the mediation process, people have to discuss the issue and develop a mutually beneficial decision, whether financially or mentally. To help them do that, spouses bring in a neutral person to assist through the process and make it more constrictive. In other ways to resolve divorce issues, such as collaboration, the presence of a lawyer is required. Often, the lawyers may advise one spouse to act against the other and make them “intimate enemies” (Stoner, 2018, p. 5). In other methods of ADL, such as arbitration, a neutral third person makes the final decision but not the couple, which may not benefit both parties. Resolving the divorce process with mediation makes people discuss the issue in detail and leave the marriage without thinking of another person as an enemy.
Secondly, mediation helps to keep privacy in the process of divorce and have control over it. People can choose a mediator who has a better understanding of the matter in question and will act in the interest of both parties. The mediator will assist in making decisions without having to bring personal problems to the public. The aspect of privacy may be helpful in resolving issues in gay marriages or relationships where marrying the same sex is not allowed by the law. Mediation allows people to create a customized settlement over the issue and ensure that there is not just one winning side.
Another reason some people choose mediation over other ways of resolving divorce issues is the cost. For example, the biggest expenses will be on divorce cases that go through a trial since trials require lots of paperwork (Stoner, 2018). In case of a trial, each side hires a lawyer who will prepare the documents, interview the witnesses, file briefs, and do legal research. When filing a divorce, people should consider trial if there was some abuse in the marriage and the guilty side has to be legally punished. However, in other cases, methods such as mediation might be more effective.
Lastly, using mediation in the divorce process is beneficial to the children. In many cases, children are the exact reason why mediation ends well in resolving a divorce. Even if the parents are ending the marriage on a bad note, they most likely are interested in keeping the peace for the sake of their children, which will make mediation go more steadily. Equally important, the divorce process may be traumatizing to the children, especially if it was preceded by the parents constantly fighting. More often than not, litigating the divorce “can lead to constant court battles, with a devastating effect on the children for years to come” (Stoner, 2018, p. 22). Suppose the children see that their parents are trying to divorce peacefully. In that case, it will set a good perception on parting for the adult life and help maintain a better relationship no matter with whom the children will stay.
Regardless of how long people have been married, divorce is never easy, but mediation allows them to resolve it in the most consensual way. However, mediation will achieve its goal only if both parties are ready to collaborate. In cases where there was physical or mental abuse in the marriage, or if it was filed with constant lies, considering other ways to manage the divorce process may be a better solution. In other cases, mediation in the process of divorce helps to achieve mutual agreement and keep a good relationship for possible future interactions.
Stoner, K. E. (2018). Divorce without court: A guide to mediation and collaborative divorce. NOLO.
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