Although the stereotype of the divorce process is two angry spouses fighting it out in court, not everyone wants to go that route. Litigation is usually costly, lengthy and discouraging. A more positive approach to divorce is mediation.
This method is about working together with the help of a facilitator to create your divorce agreement. It saves time and money, reduces contention, allows for personalization and encourages compliance. However, mediation does not work for every couple. Sometimes, litigation is the best option. How can you tell which is right for you?
1. You both agree to try
First of all, you must both agree to get a divorce. If your spouse is fighting to keep the marriage, mediation will not help. Next, you both need to agree to try mediation. The mediator holds no authority to force cooperation, so if your spouse refuses to give it try, then it will just be a waste of time and money. If you two try it out and cannot reach a resolution, you will have to go to court instead.
2. You can focus on a common goal
Divorce is emotionally challenging no matter how you do it, but if you can focus on a shared benefit, mediation may work for you. If you have children, keeping their best interests as a top priority can be your common goal. Shortening the duration of the divorce process can be another. Find something positive you both want out of the divorce and base your decisions on that instead of on fluctuating emotions.
3. You can be civil
Obviously, you are splitting up for a reason. However, that does not automatically mean you two hate each other or want revenge. Some couples can still be cooperative and civil despite negative feelings, and others even end the marriage on an amicable note. If either scenario fits you, then you should try mediation. Situations that involve abuse or dishonesty are best handled through litigation.