Divorce is one of the most difficult times in any person’s life. It’s made harder by the fact that while you’re struggling to come to terms with the end of an important relationship in your life, there are big issues to be resolved around property, finances and children.
These days many people going through a divorce prefer to deal with these painful issues through family law mediation, rather than face the costly, time-consuming and adversarial route of going to court.
By utilising the services of a qualified mediator who acts as a neutral third party, the divorcing couple can take control of how to resolve the tricky issues involved in separating lives in an understanding, calm and collaborative environment.
Here are five benefits of using mediation to resolve issues around divorce, which our Perth mediation office can help you with.
- ControlWhen a couple going through a divorce go to court, they are effectively leaving their futures in the hands of the judge and their respective lawyers, who make decisions for them on things such as dividing property and assets because they can’t. In mediation, the couple take back control in coming to a fair division of their shared assets by working through the issues and creating a solution which works for both of them. This is achieved through negotiation, expertly guided by the family law mediator. In mediation, both parties have time to put their side, explain their needs, discuss areas of both agreement and disagreement, and then come to a joint resolution. In mediation, no settlement is imposed on either party as in court.
- Confidential and voluntaryFamily law mediation between divorcing couples doesn’t happen unless both voluntarily agree to attend. Equally, both are free to walk away at any time if the process is not working for them.Unlike court proceedings, which can be made public and even receive adverse media publicity, agreements made within mediation are confidential unless both parties agree otherwise. This is an attractive feature for many people given the sensitive nature of the issues discussed during a divorce.
- ConvenienceAttending court can be difficult for many people, particularly if you’re working, plus the procedures of the court can be notoriously slow and time-consuming. Family law mediation offers greater flexibility and convenience, with the mediator generally able to stage the session close to both parties, and at a mutually agreeable time.Mediation usually consists of a main meeting room, with separate ‘break-out’ rooms for each party to conduct separate, private discussions with the mediator/s as the negotiations are conducted.
- Co-mediationFamily law mediation offers the possibility of engaging neutral co-mediators. The benefits of this include having two qualified people guiding the mediation, rather than one. One may have more expertise in law while the other offers more insight on financial matters, or mental health, or child welfare. They can also act as a check on each other to prevent any perceptions of bias and to ensure the mediation process stays on track. One mediator may be male and the other female, if the parties to the mediation feel more comfortable in discussing divorce issues with someone of their own sex. Negotiations may also be conducted more speedily with two mediators, each having separate discussions with the divorcing couple. Whether there are one or two mediators, at all times they remain neutral and merely act as facilitators for the estranged couple to negotiate their own agreement.
- Affordable and fasterCompared with litigation through the courts, mediation remains a markedly cheaper, more convenient option for most people. It should be noted that if a co-mediation is preferred, the costs increase but the method still remains more affordable than legal action through the courts.
Family law mediation will usually produce an outcome that is satisfactory to both parties sooner than court action, too, because it’s free of the multiple procedures, administration and other delays of the court.
Finally, mediation helps participants focus on communicating with each other in a civil, constructive way, preserving their relationship once the divorce is finalised. This is particularly important where there are children involved.
If you have any questions about the benefits of mediation in resolving all the issues involved in a divorce, contact the Perth office of Mediations Australia today to discuss how family law mediation can help you.