>> Jun 13, 2016
Divorce can be a difficult time for anyone involved, and particularly so when there is a house, children and other aspects of your life together to consider. Whilst emotions can be running high and the situation can be stressful, mediation can be of use to many couples. Mediation essentially attempts to work with the couple to try and find a resolution and agreements that both parties are happy with.
A couple may decide to use divorce mediation when they are unable to come to arrangements between themselves or they are unable to communicate clearly due to high levels of emotion. A mediator is a neutral third party that helps to be the ‘go between’ in the divorce. Often, mediators will focus on issues such as finances, property and childcare; the issues that need resolving quickly and that can be the most contentious. The mediator will help the couple of come to an agreement on each of the issues that both parties are happy with. This can come easily for some couples, but others may struggle. This is where the skilled mediator becomes invaluable. They can work with both individuals and help them to come to an understanding. Often, when there are children involved, it is in their interest to have arrangements made as soon as it is practically possible. A mediator can help this happen relatively quickly as it can avoid the unhelpful criticisms and emotional conversations that the separating couple can easily become embroiled in.
The mediator in any divorce will always remain completely neutral and impartial. They do not have an opinion over who should get the house or who makes the better parent. They are simply there to help both individuals come to different arrangements on the issues. The mediator can help bring the couple together and help to negotiate between the couple. However, they do not advise either party in the couple, rather they adopt a more facilitative role.
Mediation is often voluntary, although court proceedings may recommend mediation as a first step to resolving the issues when a couple separates. In certain countries there are exclusion criteria, such as domestic violence in the UK. This means in these cases there is no need to go through the mediation process before moving onto the court process. Therefore, mediation can have varying levels of success. If both parties are committed to working out the issues and coming to an agreement then it is often successful. Mediation can continue for an unspecified amount of time as there is no way of knowing how long it will take some couples to come to suitable arrangements.
Mediation can help to reduce costs when separating and can avoid the need for an upsetting and lengthy court process. It can also help the partners to feel in control and come to arrangements themselves, rather than a judge deciding for them. This is often preferable for many couples, particularly when it comes to children. Often, parents are able to find the answers themselves with the support of a trained mediator.