I recently completed a final divorce mediation session with a couple who were signing the final documents memorializing their agreement to be filed with the Court. I asked them about how they came to choose mediation versus them each hiring attorneys to handle their divorce. The Wife responded that she was driving past my office and saw my sign “A Healthy Divorce” and decided to stop in and get more information. She was not aware that divorce mediation was even an option, and after getting the information, shared it with her spouse and they quickly decided to proceed with the mediation.
Divorce mediation has been around a long time. I took my training back in 2003. It was around well before that. Most couples who are getting a divorce are capable of mediation. I have written about the benefits of mediation. Comparing the cost, process, stress levels, speed, responsiveness and flexibility it is hard to understand why couples would choose to litigate rather than work together to resolve their own divorce with the help of a professional. I understand that it is not for everyone. Mediation requires some semblance of trust and reasonableness. The couple needs to be willing to work together for their common good. Some simply don’t meet these minimal requirements, but most should be capable of setting emotions aside and working together for an amicable result. So why do most couples continue to run out and hire an attorney? The only answer I have is that those of us who offer mediation and other healthy divorce services are not doing a good enough job getting the word out.
I say shout it from the mountaintops. If you or someone you know is faced with divorce, explore the option of mediation. While it is less expensive, it is not an inferior version of a divorce. The end result has the couple making a fully educated final resolution, with eyes wide open, and with often creative outcomes that work best for the family, superior to what a court might do. Help us get the word out. Those of us who do this work strive to minimize the harm to all participants in the divorce. Help us save families from the harm caused by litigation. Why not choose a process focused on seeking to provide a healthy outcome for the family?