The amount of confrontation in a divorce is often determined by whether both spouses agree to end their marriage or one spouse does not want the process to go forward. The unwilling spouse takes on an aggressive attitude in the courtroom, determined to make it as difficult as possible for the other spouse to get anything he/she wants. The emotion and anger are damaging enough and there is also the lack of privacy that makes the most personal details of the marriage public knowledge. David Moore recommends mediation as a means to take confrontation out of the divorce process.
Mediation is especially beneficial for family law disputes, including divorce, where the anger and resentment that often build in a courtroom can do harm to everyone involved. This is of special concern for spouses with minor children who are already struggling with the changes taking place in their lives. A family lawyer who is also a skilled mediator is proficient at helping the spouses communicate so they can focus on finding solutions that are best for their children.
A Matter of Control
Although mediation is not the solution for every disputed divorce, it is successful much of the time. The spouse who wants to take control of the situation will retain a share of the control in the decision-making process. Although the other spouse must also agree to the solutions chosen, they have more flexibility to reject suggestions they are completely unhappy with and make different suggestions that they feel would work better. It isn’t the “winner take all” situation that they might face in the courtroom but they actually have more control over the final outcome than they would with a judge.
When the negotiations begin, both spouses and the mediator must agree to keep all information discussed confidential. This agreement enhances communication and allows spouses to talk about the issues of importance without worry that everyone is going to hear what they say. All eyes may be on them in the courtroom but mediation takes place with only the spouses, the mediator, and legal representation if required.
Spouses are often surprised by the final decision given by a judge, especially after they have presented a great deal of evidence that the other spouse has not acted responsibly or contributed equally to the marital assets. This is because the judge is going to base his/her decision on the legal components of the case, not on the personal situation that led to the divorce. The best that the family lawyer can do to change the outcome is to present evidence that pertains to the legal specifics of divorce in that state. While this can still have a big impact on the outcome, it often isn’t the overwhelming victory that the spouse was hoping for.
Hiring an experienced family lawyer who also has skills as a divorce mediator will prevent you from facing a surprising decision once the judge has ruled. A more peaceful negotiation will also have a lesser impact on you by taking the confrontation out of the process and opening up your options.