How mediation takes the sting out of divorce
A divorce is always a difficult option, fraught with emotion and upset. However, working with a mediator can ease much of the pain and difficulty in the long term. This isn’t marriage counselling, it is a process where a neutral third person helps to resolve conflicts and disputes arising from the divorce so that the divorce can move forward.
There are two biggest advantages to Mediation. First, it makes divorce up to four times faster and second, it can be more than ten times cheaper than going to court. So what stops more people trying it or seeing it through?
Sadly, divorce can turn even the most mature, considerate and rational adults into petulant children or disputatious teenagers. As with all perilous situations, we can go into survival modes of Fight, Flight or Freeze which can have major impacts on the outcome of your divorce.
The desire to run away from it all is a common response. After years of unhappiness, and deciding ‘Should I stay or should I go?’, many just want it all over as quickly as possible. Many people come to divorce already exhausted with an attitude of “You can have everything, I don’t care, I just want out.” This can seem like a good solution at the start but it usually breeds bitterness, resentment and regret years down the line when the other party seems to have moved on and "has it all" whilst the flee-er is left to pick up and start over from scratch. This is made all the harder if (s)he is the one who is doing the lion's share of the childcare.
These are the people pleasers who hate confrontation and/or those desperate to try and keep a separation focused on the children and what is best for them. Sadly, however, “Can we find a way to work this out amicably?” will only be a realistic line if both parties are physically, mentally and emotionally in a place to make this a priority.
In such cases, one party is looking to find a resolution whilst the other is stonewalling, arguing or using both these tactics, against all suggestions. This couple can end up in a frustrating impasse for months, even years.
Lastly, the headline-grabbers, The Fighters
Some people feel that the legal process does little to help couples trying to reach an amicable solution. It can be difficult not to get dragged into “HE started this, HE needs to suffer!" and "She won’t get ANYTHING without my say-so!".
We work alongside mediators to help couples to avoid slipping into any of these three traps. A mediator provides an objective, impartial ear to the dispute and effectively acts as the parent who can intervene in the squabble between the children you can so easily become when hurt and upset.
There are further advantages to Mediation:
- It is private and confidential. This can be important as the ripple-effect of divorce and separation can drag the wider family, either reluctantly or with guns blazing.
- It is creative. The time and space afforded by the mediation process allows each couple to think about what they truly want. A skilled mediator will be able to find solutions that may not have been previously considered.
- It puts children first. Most couples would claim this to be their number one priority but as the hostility inevitably rises, children will often become collateral damage and there are few things more damaging to a child than on-going conflict between parents. Mediation turns down the heat and offers the couple real solutions to minimising stress and enabling a respectful, amicable relationship.
The statistics on Mediation are incredibly positive. The divorce process is difficult enough to go through once. If a court imposes a settlement that leaves one party happy then the chances of returning to court to either enforce or change an arrangement are high. More money is spent, more time is wasted, the emotional toll on everyone involved is greater.
We work in partnership with tried and tested experts and we are happy to recommend a mediation service to you. No matter how difficult it may seem in the beginning, couples would be wise to consider everything they might gain from giving it a go.