Approximately 40-50% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. However, a majority of Americans are not aware of a method that could help them part ways with their spouse in a more cordial, peaceful, cost-effective way. This method, known as mediation, is a dispute resolution process where a trained neutral third-party guides the divorcing couple in resolving their issues.
There are a myriad of benefits in choosing divorce mediation over a traditional divorce. Still, it might not be for everyone and each case is unique.
Divorce is extremely stressful and some liken it to a death. Your entire life is changing. Issues of identity, shame, shaky finances and upended family dynamics are just some of the things people may experience. A recent study revealed that those who were in the process of divorce had a 46% higher chance of dying than their married counterparts. Choosing mediation may alleviate some of these health concerns by introducing a more peaceful, quicker and less painful split. Parties might actually become healthier by moving on to a new life that they helped create for themselves.
Everything in a mediation is confidential and can not be used against either party in a court or elsewhere in the future. There are only 2 exceptions to that: elder abuse and child abuse. This allows the mediation process to be more relaxed where the people can feel comfortable in asserting their wants and needs.
Unlike the court system where divorcing couples may have to wait months for a hearing, mediation can be scheduled almost immediately. The rate which parties can get divorced through mediation is significantly faster than the channels of traditional divorce.
Mediating instead of litigating will ultimately benefit the children of divorce. By working together, parents can set an example for their children. Kids may be less stressed and not feel as if they are stuck in the middle.
Mediation means that the parties decide what happens in their own lives. Rather than leaving it up to a Judge to make the important decisions affecting your life, mediation allows you to decide. You can think about your future and what you want it to look like free of judgments, orders and suggestions.
- Less Expensive
Divorce mediation costs a fraction of what a traditional lawyer-driven divorce would be. Often there is a set fee so there are no hidden surprises.
Ultimately, mediation can only work if there are two honest and willing partners. If your ex is hiding assets or refuses to mediate, this may not be an option for you. However, in a majority of cases mediation is a viable choice. My job is getting the word out so more families are aware of this beneficial method of uncoupling.
Dori Shwirtz, president, Divorce Harmony, LLC
Dori is an attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator. She is the President of divorceharmony.com, a virtual divorce mediation firm devoted to helping couples divorce through mediation.