Divorce mediation can be a highly effective means of dissolving a marriage, but it's not the right process for everyone. Its success greatly depends upon the relationship between the divorcing couple and the personality and character of each party.
Might you be a good candidate for divorce mediation? Give honest consideration to these seven statements below. If you can say 'yes' to all seven, mediation is probably right for you.
You and your spouse both believe that divorce is the right path.
For best success, mediation requires the parties to cooperate and be willing to work as amicably as possible toward the common goal of dissolving the marriage. If one of you is strongly opposed to the divorce, that person may obstruct the process or have difficulty negotiating in good faith, both of which would negate the benefits of mediation. Under such circumstances, a traditional adversarial approach might be a more sensible path.
You and your spouse have similar goals for divorce.
Mediation works well for couples who share similar divorce goals, even if they don't agree on all issues. Do you both want to resolve the matter as quickly and cost-effectively as possible? Have you agreed to prioritize keeping the process amicable for the children's sake? Are you both willing to find common ground to find solutions to outstanding problems? If you can answer yes to all three questions, it's a good sign that mediation could work for you.
You and your spouse communicate reasonably concerning divorce-related matters.
Open, honest, and rational communication is the cornerstone of successful divorce mediation. If you and your spouse can't agree on the price of tomatoes without screaming, it's unlikely that you'll be able to have a calm, reasonable discussion with a mediator about how to divide marital property equitably or determine child custody.
There is no history of domestic abuse in your marriage.
If domestic abuse or violence has been an issue in your household, mediation isn't recommended. During the mediation process, you should be free to make decisions and stand up for yourself without fear of violent or vindictive repercussions from your spouse. Opt for mediation only if you feel confident that your safety and mental health will not be compromised by working with your abusive spouse.
You're ready to devise your own solutions and compromise.
In a traditional divorce, the court decides upon any issues that the divorcing couple cannot agree on. In mediation, both parties must agree on solutions to reach a settlement. No one will be ordering either of you to take a particular action or another; mediation will succeed or fail based on your ability to develop creative solutions, compromise, and take ownership of your decisions. This process is often hard, emotional work. You're a good candidate for mediation if you're ready to take this work on.
You aren't afraid of interpreting financial information and using it during negotiations.
Deciding how to divide assets equitably is a large part of the mediation process. You don't have to be a financial genius to handle this in mediation, but you should have a realistic knowledge of your financial situation and know how to interpret and apply financial advice from experts during the negotiation process. Perhaps most important, you should understand both the short- and long-term economic consequences of any decision you make.
You can be honest, open and fair with your spouse.
Be very honest with yourself here: Can you put aside your hurt, anger, and any other negative feelings you may have to negotiate in good faith with your spouse? Being stubborn, obstructive, vengeful, deceitful, or petty is never a good idea in any form of divorce, but will utterly doom a mediation. If you believe you'd never be able to set your emotions aside and reach a fair settlement with your spouse, then it's better to save time and money, and let the courts keep you on the straight and narrow.
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