You've decided to seek a divorce. Your nerves are frayed; the in-laws are asked pointed questions; the children are beginning to act up in all-too-transparent ways; and your pleasantness is in the midst of an earthshaking landslide. What can you do? Clearly, you can hire legal advice. But who? Here's a checklist of reasons why working with a trained mediator can often help.
Researchers have conducted more than 50 studies since 'divorce mediation' first appeared more than two decades ago. As one researcher puts it, the easiest research has already been done, i.e., comprehensive research on the outcomes of mediation. Enough data has been collected and enough analysis conducted to begin drawing clear conclusions about whether mediation works. Along several key axes, the answers are encouraging.
Mediation is an approach to settling disputes and reaching an agreement on issues such as finances or child care. It requires the co-operation of the two parties, no-one can be forced to attend mediation. The process typically involves the couple attending a series of face to face meetings in the presence of a mediator, who facilitates the discussion. Mediators can be, but are not always, legally trained.