The Benefits of Discussion in a Collaborative or Mediated Divorce

The Benefits of Discussion in a Collaborative or Mediated Divorce

By Scott C. Marks, Attorney, Mediator, Collaborative Professional

Often, parties to a mediated or a collaborative divorce have not, for weeks, spoken directly with each other about the issues at hand.   This is because those discussions are difficult and painful and often end in impasse.  That is where a mediator or collaborative team can be beneficial.

Discussion is at the center of mediation and collaborative process.  The parties are encouraged and empowered to communicate.  The mediator or the collaborative professionals assist them to express their concerns, hear what the other is saying and explore solutions.  Thereby, they gain a better understanding of each other’s motivations and needs, which can lead to compromise.  Because the outcome is their own, they generally find it acceptable and reasonable.  Furthermore, a successful mediation or collaborative outcome shows them that they can resolve disagreements and thereby lessen future conflict.  The parties have thereby taken responsibility for the outcome.

On the other hand, when parties become frustrated by their inability to communicate with each other in a constructive manner, nothing gets resolved and the dispute festers.  When one party finally reaches his or her limit or a crisis requires immediate attention, they default to filing a case in court.  They therefore leave it to a stranger, a judge, to decide important issues that impact their lives and the lives of their children.  What’s more, there is a good likelihood that one or both parties will be unhappy with the outcome.  Further, the adversarial nature of litigation, with its allegations and counter-allegations, throws salt into already open emotional wounds, pushing the parties further apart and leaving long-lasting scars.

Virtual Mediation and Collaborative Process

March 31, 2020

I hope you are managing well during this trying period. Social distancing creates new stressors that impact every member of every family and household – isolation, child-care responsibilities, lay-offs, medical issues, anxiety and fear, etc. Of course, for those households and families that were already suffering from conflict and division before the arrival of Covid-19, the impacts may be aggravated.

Through tele-conferencing and video-conferencing, mediation and collaborative process are dispute resolution methods that you and your spouse/partner can use to address the conflicts that you are experiencing now, such as changes to the parenting schedule, child exchange or finances. And, if you were already contemplating or in the midst of divorce, though video and tele-conferencing, mediation and collaborative process can be used now to begin or continue settlement negotiations while the courts are essentially and temporarily closed (except as to emergency and agreed-upon matters).

If you would like more information about these virtual options, please call or send me an email. I am checking the phone messages and emails daily.

Stay healthy.