More Connecticut couples whose marriages are ending are turning to mediation to help them make decisions about many common divorce issues. Even those with contentious child custody or property division issues may benefit from choosing mediation instead of litigation.
Unlike in divorce court, where a judge oversees cases, mediation is facilitated by a mediator. They are often psychologists, social workers or other professionals whose priorities lie with helping divorcing couples come to fair solutions. As opposed to arbitrators, mediators do not make any decisions for the parties, which is often more appealing to divorcing couples who would rather decide what child custody and property division arrangements work best for them. Mediation often results in agreements that are tailored to divorcing couples’ needs as well as those of their children.
Because mediation encourages a spirit of cooperation, divorcing parents often experience less stress during their divorce, which can be of great benefit to their children. Mediation often results in joint child custody arrangements, which gives children equal access to both of their parents. Divorcing parents who can work together often find that they can devote more mental energy to their children’s best interests than they could have if they had chosen to litigate their divorce.
There are few disadvantages to this alternative form of dispute resolution. Mediators do not make decisions for divorcing parties, and the parties can choose to take the case to divorce court if they find that mediation is unproductive. However, in order for mediation to work, both parties must feel comfortable articulating their needs during mediation meetings. Though they may find it easy to communicate in individual meetings with mediators, parties may have difficulty in open discussions with their ex-spouses. Many people retain legal counsel to assist them during mediation proceedings.
Source: American Bar Association, “Benefits of Mediation in Divorce Cases”, Holly Clemente, accessed on March 2, 2015