Why is family law mediation the best way to resolve divorce disputes?

When people decide to get divorced, it’s a stressful and confusing time for pretty much everyone involved. Even a divorce that comes about after calm consideration can devolve into a lengthy legal battle if there are key areas where an agreement cannot be reached.

One of the most common points of contention are issues surrounding the division of assets that were jointly-held during the marriage. The other (and much more emotionally charged) issue surrounds parenting arrangements for children caught between their splitting parents.

While most parents want to speed-up the divorce process and avoid causing undue trauma to their children, it is easy for them to become stubborn and fight for what they believe they are entitled to. In situations where the splitting parents absolutely loathe one another, it can be very difficult to get them to agree on anything, and they can often lose sight of what is best for their children, and themselves.

People who have not experienced divorce can often believe in stereotypes about the process that are perpetuated by movies and tv shows. While there is always an element of truth behind these portrayals, most divorce cases are settled out of court, at least here in Australia.

While family lawyers are often required to conduct negotiations between the parties they represent, there is another process that is highly effective in resolving disputes – family law mediation. Unlike a direct private negotiation between both parties, this process is guided by a professional family law mediator.

This mediator works with both parties to find a way to get past whatever is holding them back from settling their affairs. The goal is to find a mutually agreeable solution that acknowledges the grievances of both parties but allows them to get closure and move forward with their lives.

Family law mediation is often the best course of action when people going through a divorce want to avoid the stress and expense of going to court. The main point of the process is to explore creative solutions that help both parties reach an agreement they can live with, rather than go all-in for a lengthy court battle.

Professional family law mediation, while having an upfront cost, is much more preferable than going to court and trying to fight it out. When a court is used to settle a dispute, there is a clear winner and a loser, and this can lead to lifelong resentments that children need to bear with too.

While it might feel good at the time to win against an ex, it can leave a bitter taste in the months and years following it. Also, going to court means a risk of losing when mediation could have allowed someone to walk away with more.

Family law mediation is favourable because it allows for creative solutions to be reached that actually satisfy both sides, rather than a court-mandated decision that may only satisfy one side. An agreement that is reached through mediation means that everyone can hold their head high and walk away with confidence that they won’t have to deal with this situation ever again.

Agreements that are reached via mediated negotiation are much longer-lasting and far less likely to be disputed in the future. They also put less of a burden on children as they can feel that both parents got to walk away happy with the arrangements reached.

Going to court should always be an absolute last resort when a divorce is taking place. Family law mediation is simply a much cheaper, more effective, and more peaceful experience for handling a divorce dispute.