Mediation is a good way to work through a divorce with your spouse and to address conflicts as they arise. Mediation requires a third party to be present to guide you, but the third party will have no specific outcome in mind. Instead, their goal is to help you reach a decision that is agreeable, so that you can move forward with your divorce.
You should be aware that there are pros and cons to using mediation to resolve your disputes. Knowing the pros and cons can help you decide if mediation is the right choice for you or if there may be a better option.
What are the pros of mediation?
- Parties discuss their concerns in front of a neutral third party who can provide an independent evaluation based on what they hear from each side
- Mediators point out the reality of a situation, which can help clients see the true position they're in
- Mediators can help show weaknesses in the decisions or cases parties are making
- Avoiding a "win" or "lose" situation
- Helping direct communication between the parties involved in the case
- Providing better certainty of the results
As with the pros of mediation, there are cons to consider as well. Some cons of mediation include:
- Being unable to force either party to negotiate
- It can take several sessions to reach an agreement
- Higher costs associated with a greater number of meetings
- Not being binding: Since mediation is not binding, all of the effort put in could be for nothing if one party changes their mind later
Mediation may not be the right choice if a couple cannot agree to work together toward a solution. Mediation will only work if both parties are willing to negotiate to avoid trial. If neither side wants to cooperate, then there are other dispute resolution techniques, like arbitration, that might be a better choice.
If mediation does not work out in the end, both parties may consider alternative dispute resolution options or may choose to go to trial to fight for what they want out of their divorce. Going to trial takes the results out of your hands, so it's generally best if you can negotiate a settlement that you believe is fair in mediation. You can discuss options with your attorney, who will be able to help you decide if mediation is a good choice in your case.