Family mediation gives separating couples an opportunity to decide for themselves what to do about their circumstances, with help and guidance from a trained and impartial therapist mediator. Clients are encouraged to co-operate with each other to negotiate and find their own ways to move forward with their lives. It allows couples to make their own choices in the comfort of an office instead of the discomfort of a court house. It is less emotionally harmful, teaches co-parenting skills for clients who have children, and helps to preserve some type of working relationship since couples learn to communicate. If you have children, divorcing a person does not mean they leave your life completely. It is imperative to your children’s well-being that you restructure your relationship for your children’s emotional health and your own sanity.
Divorce is the second most traumatic loss a person can experience; however, it is sometimes unavoidable. It can set off a grief process of fear, sadness and anger. Therapists spend time and resources trying to help individuals suffering from the emotional impact of divorce. What we know is that it is not just the loss of relationships that damages people; it is the degree of conflict that happens during the divorce that causes the most damage. Mediation is a process which can minimize the damage and in fact, set you on the road to having a foundation for success in the future.
Most people who decide to divorce automatically think that the next step is to contact an attorney who will protect you. You need to keep in mind that whatever your attorney tells you they can get for you, your soon-to-be ex’s attorney is probably telling him that they can get him the opposite. And so, the battles begin. The traditional legal process of divorce is deliberately structured as an adversarial one and very often, not only do you and your spouse take opposite sides, but everyone you know (parents, children, friends) do as well. A Collaborative Divorce is a process designed to minimize the adversarial nature of traditional divorce. However, the process has proven to be costly (paying for two attorneys, a mental health professional, and a financial expert to attend all meetings) and not very effective. Very quickly, both types of divorce (litigated and collaborative) become financially and emotionally costly. Statistics show that the average cost of a divorce in Texas with children is $23,000 and the length of time is 14 months.
Mediation makes it possible for you to stay entirely out of litigation and court except for a short visit when the judge signs your papers. When you leave mediation, you will have a Mediated Agreement which outlines the decisions you have made regarding property, debts, children, etc. At that point, a final divorce decree is written (probably by an attorney) and filed with the court. That means you have control over all the costs and decision-making. Research shows that family mediation can cost a quarter of the price and take a quarter of the time of the traditional divorce process and, more importantly, it can ensure better results for families.
Mary Sanger is a trained mediator in divorce and family mediation.
If you have been court mandated for mediation Mary is co-owner and founder of Dallas Family and Divorce Mediation Services where she co-mediates all sessions with her business partner and attorney, Sameer Ahmed. dfdms.com
Issues to Be Resolved in Divorce Mediation
Division of property and debts What property and debts exist? How is that property and debts to be valued? How ...read more
Be Prepared to Discuss in Mediation:
Issues Relating to Children ____ Child support ____ Child custody (legal) ____ Child custody (physical) ____ Time with the other parent ____ Grandparent visitation ____ Visitation ...read more
Children’s Bill of Rights
Neither parent shall deny the children reasonable use of the telephone to place and receive calls with the other parent ...read more