Going through a divorce is challenging. However, after years of marriage, a couple may come to that point where divorce is the only viable option left.
When it comes to getting a divorce, a number of avenues exist. You can decide to go to court and bare it all before a judge and lawyers. This is often an unpleasant experience as it involves lengthy and difficult proceedings as the lawyers representing both parties aggressively argue their cases. At the end of the day, when the divorce proceedings are concluded, the couple’s relationship is seriously damaged.
Another option a couple may consider is arbitration, which involves a neutral arbiter who listens to both sides and then makes a decision that is binding for both parties. In such a case, parties must agree to subject themselves to the decisions of the arbiter.
The other option is mediated divorce proceedings. This is often a better option as the couples negotiate with the utmost respect for each other. At the end of the proceedings, both parties are at least satisfied that the entire process had been both respectful, just, and fair.
There are many benefits of amicably resolving disputes in divorce proceedings instead of taking the rather lengthy and damaging court process.
1. It’s Less Expensive
Court proceedings are very expensive. Instead of each of you paying a lawyer, in a mediated process, there is one mediator who represents both of your interests without taking sides. A mediation process usually takes a shorter time than a court proceeding.
2. You Are in Control
In a mediated process, both parties control the outcome by deciding on the issues they want to be discussed and resolved. The entire experience is fairly civil and is guided by a spirit of give-and-take. Each party has to be willing to trade off something in exchange for something else.
3. Speedy Resolution
Getting a hearing date before a judge can take months. This means that the divorce proceedings can drag on endlessly. This is emotionally draining for the parties as each of them would most likely want to see a quick resolution so that they can get on with their lives. A mediated process is faster since outstanding issues can be settled in just one or a few sessions.
4. Easier on the Children
If the proceedings involve contesting the custody of a child, that child could be called to the court and be subjected to a rigorous evaluation, sometimes even be called on to testify before the court. The experience can be traumatizing for a child. A mediated process usually leaves the children out and is presumably resolved for their benefit.
5. Win-Win Outcomes
Decisions reached through mediation or arbitration are more acceptable and binding to couples since they feel they have been properly heard. Unlike in a court process where one party may feel like they have lost while the other one considers himself or herself a winner, in a mediated process, both parties come out as winners. The negotiating atmosphere is cordial and civil unlike in a court process where tensions may flare up as each lawyer digs in to protect the interests of their clients. That’s why hiring an experienced family lawyer is of the utmost importance.
Amicably settling disputes in divorce proceedings requires tact and sensitivity to a couple’s feelings. Among options available to a couple, besides the court route, are mediation and arbitration. Mediated divorce proceedings are perhaps the best avenue for a couple that wants to part ways amicably and perhaps remain good friends even after separation. To conduct a successful mediation, a mediator should guide the parties towards agreeing on contentious issues in an atmosphere of give-and-take.