While divorcing your spouse can have a ripple effect on the entire family, you may be able to minimize the emotional impact your split has on any children you have by opting for divorce mediation as opposed to litigation. Mediation differs substantially from a traditional courtroom divorce, but if the relationship between you and your spouse is not especially ugly or acrimonious, it may be worth your while to consider it.
Mediation, at its core, involves you and your soon-to-be-former spouse sitting down together with a mediator, an impartial third party who “has no horse in the race,” so to speak. In other words, the mediator reaps no benefits from having one party “beat” the other, so he or she is able to provide an unbiased opinion while you and your spouse work through your issues.
A cost-effective alternative
Mediation offers numerous benefits for those who decide to pursue it, with one of the more notable benefits being its cost-effective nature. When compared to a traditional, litigated divorce, mediated divorces can cost you between 40 and 60 percent less than the alternative once you factor in individual attorney fees, court fees, the lengthy nature of many litigated divorces and so on. While saving money through mediation is an undeniable benefit, an arguably even bigger one is the positive effect it can have on your children.
How mediation benefits kids
A litigated divorce is almost always stressful, and the stresses it presents can be emotional as well as financial. That stress can carry over into your day-to-day life, and your kids can pick up on it and begin to feel increasingly stressed themselves. Litigated divorces also tend to create an “us against them” type of sentiment, which can make your children feel as if they need to pick one side over the other. Participating in mediation, meanwhile, shows your children their parents can still work together, even after you separate.
While mediation is not necessarily appropriate in all circumstances, your decision to opt for it may have long-term positive effects on your children.