For some couples in Calgary, the divorce process is straight forward; both parties agree to what communal assets get split, who gets custody and child care arrangements are easily fixed. For some, however, the separation process is much harder, with the family unit being pulled and broken and unsolvable arguments lengthening the whole process.
This is where mediation comes into play. Mediation is where both parties to the divorce come together in front of a neutral mediator who listens to both sides and finds common ground in the middle. The mediator helps to work through arguments that have too much emotion wrapped up in them and helps the couple going through the divorce to find solutions that work for both sides.
Many people find that there are many benefits of mediation when going through separation. Here are the top 3 benefits of mediation compared to battling it out in court:
- It’s cheaper – typically, a couple who can’t agree over the terms of the divorce use the court system and a judge’s final ruling to get what they want. This means 2 sets of lawyer’s fees and countless hours in court. By choosing to mediate instead, the couple only has to pay one set of fees to the mediator, and a lot of the messy problems have a simple solution when examined by a neutral party.
- It’s more personal – the caseload of Calgary divorce lawyers and judges are enormous, which means there is only a small amount of time to be spent on each case. Divorce and separation are some of the most personal times in one’s life when all the bad stuff in the marriage is laid bare, and time needs to be taken to make sure everyone’s needs are being met. The mediation process allows for feelings as well as facts, and the mediator can take their time processing what is truly important to each party.
- It protects the children – in a divorce case where there is a custody battle, the court system requires children to be interviewed and observed by experts. If a couple had any hopes of shielding their children from their disagreements, this process destroys that and makes the children hyper-aware of the problems. A judge will also side with one party, meaning that someone will walk away with even more heartache. A mediator doesn’t need to see, or be seen by, the children, meaning that the calendar wrangling and arguments over custody can happen in private and a mutually satisfactory solution worked out.
There are other benefits that include an increase in confidentiality (a couple doesn’t have to air it’s dirty laundry in front of a courtroom full of people), it’s quicker (no waiting for a court date) and it’s proven to lead to longer post-divorce stability, which is essential if there are children involved. The mediation process forces divorcing couples to listen to each other’s point of view, and even if they don’t agree with it, they have to accept the other’s thoughts and feelings as valid, and these skills are transferable to post-divorce discussions and negotiations.