Divorce mediation is a popular alternative to litigation for couples to resolve their disputes and negotiate the terms of their divorce. When it comes to something as painful and personal as eviscerating familial ties, mediation can be a saving grace. A neutral third party can help keep the discussion focused on problem-solving rather than finger-pointing. But it may not be for everyone.
Here are seven pros and cons of divorce mediation:
- Financial cost. Since settlement is generally quicker via mediation, costs are reduced. Generally, litigation is much more expensive than divorce mediation.
- Emotional cost. Unlike divorce litigation, mediation allows couples to avoid the "winner-loser" risks of trial, protect confidentiality, and decrease stressful conflict.
- Relationship. Since the goal of mediation is to promote reconciliation, understanding, and settlement, the process helps couples foster a continuing relationship (often for the sake of their children) and equips them with techniques to help them resolve future conflicts.
- Satisfaction. Due to the collaborative spirit of mediation, couples who mediate their divorce settlements often find greater satisfaction than those who duke it out in court.
- Communication imbalance. Mediation's informal setting is a double-edged sword. If one party is timid and the other party is aggressive, the communication imbalance may materially affect the outcome of the mediation. In such cases, a more formal setting like court may be better to find the fairest outcome.
- Domestic violence. Victims of domestic abuse may not get a fair shake from divorce mediation if they are hesitant to communicate freely out of fear of retaliation. Many mediators are now trained to identify victims of abuse, according to Mediate.com. Still, many victims go unrecognized and unfairly appear as though they're not participating in the mediation in good faith.
- Failure. If the parties can't reach an agreement via mediation, the parties will have to go through the time-consuming and expensive process of trial. This adds trial to the burdens of going through the whole rigmarole of mediation.
- Make Divorce Less Painful: Mediation and Collaborative Divorce (FindLaw's Houston Family Law Blog)
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- How to Invalidate a Prenuptial Agreement (FindLaw's Houston Family Law Blog)