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Study says mediation bears better results than court

Divorce occurs when a couple has finally had enough. It's often at one of two times: a moment of extreme tension between spouses, or a period of resignation where they seek a solution to a problematic relationship. The goal is the same in both scenarios: to end a marriage get out of a situation that isn't working for either party.

Most people view divorce as more of an argument than an agreement but, like marriage, both partners need to consent before they can move on. It is a legal annulment of a relationship, and it has a formal process to divide property and to establish child custody roles after the marriage. Both partners need to work together to transition into their new lives. Even if they don't think it's possible to work together any longer.

Reading the room and reaching agreement

Mediation is an alternative to going to court to settle the divorce. Instead, both partners work with a neutral third party to reach terms that work for everyone. It leads to more satisfying divorce settlements because both parties have input, while a judge makes decisions in family court. A Harvard study published this June explains how the facilitative approach draws better reviews.

First, both sides need to overcome their tension. Mediation is not negotiation. A skilled mediator understands human psychology and knows how to de-escalate a situation. When tempers flare, the neutral party needs to calm the room and push the agenda forward. Divorce court escalates tension and adversarial relationships, while mediation finds a solution to everyone's interests.

Communication is essential

It is understandable that divorcing spouses will not always see eye to eye. However, a respectful negotiation leads to divorce agreements that hold up better over time. Communication is vital to the process. You may be getting a divorce now, but if you are co-parenting your children, you will need to work together in the future to organize holidays, schedule vacations and make important decisions about school and extra-curricular activities for your children.

While it is hard to work together with somebody who you are divorcing, it is the first step toward your new, independent life. A skilled mediator will help you through the transition by acknowledging your needs and looking beyond the present.

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