The reality is that mediation has become a viable option for many couples to sort out their separation issues. Lawyers are required to inform clients of other dispute resolution options and many judges want to see that you have tried mediation (whether at the court or privately) prior to hearing a motion.  Even with all of the positive aspects of mediation, some people are hesitant for the following valid reasons:

Beginning the process makes this a bit too real and they are not ready

One partner may not be as far along in the separation emotionally than the other.  It may be necessary to slow down the process a little to ensure that both parties are willing and able to participate fully in mediation. Although you may be ready to start your new life right away, your ex-partner my need a little more time. Mediation is a process that will go at your pace, making sure it is comfortable for both of you.

Assumption that since the other party contacted the mediator first that we are now on their side

A mediator is simply a neutral third party that will help you have the conversations that you need to with your ex-partner. We cannot take sides and we do not have any decision making power. It does not matter which party contacts us first, we listen carefully to both sides and try to help you plan your transition.

Concerns about the cost

The cost of mediation in both financial and emotional terms is significantly less than the legal process. The cost is split between both parties. The hours spent in mediation are dictated by you, the number of issues that you have and how well you manage your way to a resolution. Although it may feel as though you are unable to agree on anything right now that is most often not the case.

Unclear of the process or why they would need it

The mediation process allows you to sit down with your ex-partner and try to sort things out yourselves. If children are involved it can help you vent emotions that will assist you to move forward positively in a co-parenting environment. Your mediator will help guide the conversation and highlight areas that will be required to proceed with a separation agreement. If you feel you can sit down together without a mediator…great!

They are already convinced that using a lawyer and battling everything out through the courts is in their best interests

It is certainly your prerogative to choose the legal process right from the start. When choosing this option, both sides often end up with in a situation that doesn’t meet the family’s needs.  The judges will make decisions based on the best interests of the children and what the arrangements have been to date. It is really not about what “you” want or “your” best interests.  It can be very costly, very lengthy and very emotional as both sides fight.  Mediation does allow you to have the legal process as a fall back and usually helps you to at least work out agreeable parenting plans together in most cases. If you choose the legal process, Collaborative lawyers are an excellent option.

It’s true….it doesn’t cost a thing to call or email and ask some questions just to get a feel for the process and/or the mediator. Taking a few minutes to look into mediation may prove to be very valuable to your separation and your ability to co-parent in the future.

There is a great deal of information available on the internet regarding mediation and divorce. At the end of the day it is important to find a professional and process that you are comfortable with.