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Your Divorce Mediator Is Not Your Judge

Updated: May 28

Mediation is a path to empowerment and collaboration, where you keep control 

Often, I have to tell clients that I am not a judge.  They will ask me, “What percentage should my wife get,” or “How much should alimony be?”  These are questions that no mediator, and for that matter, no lawyer, can tell you. What we CAN tell you, is the expected range that decisions like these might fall into in a court setting.

However, they also should tell you that, if you want a judge to decide for you, it typically takes months, if not years, to get the question in front of a judge.  It also costs tens of thousands of dollars just for the pleasure of asking. No one can tell you what will happen during “your day in court.”

But divorce doesn't always have to be synonymous with courtroom battles and adversarial legal tactics. In recent years, divorce mediation and coaching have continued to increase in popularity over “lawyering-up”, because society (and courts) are starting to recognize that the divorce process, as it exists in our courthouses, actually makes the situation WORSE for struggling families.  Instead, if couples are encouraged to look FORWARD instead of backward, their conversations become more cooperative and constructive, paving the way for agreement, when previously there was just fighting. Let's delve into divorce mediation, exploring its benefits and setting realistic expectations for those considering this approach.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party, known as the mediator, facilitates discussions between divorcing spouses to reach agreements on various aspects of their divorce, such as child custody, division of assets, and spousal support. Unlike litigation, where decisions are imposed by a judge, mediation empowers couples to actively participate in shaping their post-marital lives.

Benefits of Mediation Over "Lawyering Up"

  1. Empowerment through Collaboration: One of the key benefits of divorce mediation is that it fosters collaboration and empowers couples to take control of their divorce process. Instead of relying on attorneys to negotiate, couples work with the mediator to find mutually acceptable solutions. This collaborative approach can lead to more creative and tailor-made agreements that better meet the unique needs of the family.

  2. Tempering Expectations: It's important to understand that divorce mediation is not about winning or losing; rather, it's about finding common ground and moving forward amicably. Unlike courtroom battles where each party fights for their interests, mediation encourages couples to focus on finding solutions that are fair and equitable for both sides. While compromises may be necessary, the goal is to achieve outcomes that prioritize the well-being of everyone involved.

  3. Guidance, Not Decision-Making: Contrary to popular misconceptions, the mediator does not make decisions for the couple. Instead, the mediator is a facilitator, guiding the discussions and helping the couple explore their options. By providing impartial guidance and information, the mediator empowers the couple to make informed decisions that align with their values and priorities.

  4. Ownership of Decisions: Perhaps one of the most significant advantages of mediation is that it promotes ownership of decisions. Because agreements are reached through mutual consent rather than imposed by a judge, couples are more likely to abide by the terms of their settlement. This sense of ownership fosters a greater commitment to upholding the agreements, leading to more sustainable and long-lasting outcomes.

Divorce mediation offers couples a more dignified, efficient, and cost-effective alternative to traditional litigation. By fostering collaboration, tempering expectations, and empowering couples to make informed decisions, mediation can lead to better outcomes for everyone involved. 

Ultimately, divorce mediation, especially at Family Transitions® is not just about ending a marriage; it's about laying the foundation for a new chapter in life built on forging new beginnings instead of hashing out the past. To learn more about Family Transitions’®️ divorce coaching and mediation services, schedule a consultation call today. 

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