The Emotional and Financial Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Few events impact one’s life as profoundly as a divorce. During this time, major life decisions are required related to one’s children, finances and living situation, to name a few. Intense emotions often accompany these decisions and discussions; hurt, sadness, frustration and anger are often involved.

So, it is no wonder that divorce is estimated to be the second most stressful life event next to the death of a loved one. In a sense, divorce involves the experience of losing a loved one. For this reason, the grief stages experienced when someone close to you dies (depression, anger, bargaining, denial and acceptance) are mirrored during a divorce. To complicate this, when one spouse wants a divorce and the other does not, it is likely that the initiating spouse will move through these emotional stages at a different rate from his/her soon to be ex-spouse. This can create further hostility and pain, because there is likely to be a lack of understanding and empathy between spouses as to why one is angry, for example, while the other has begun to move into the acceptance stage.

In an emotional process that is inherently painful for so many, it is ironic that the process is handled by the legal system in a way which makes it even more painful and combative, not to mention adding a huge financial burden. The adversarial manner of handling divorce has existed for so long, that many couples are not even aware that there are other options, namely, mediation.

Mediation allows a divorcing couple to sit with a neutral, knowledgeable, third party, and make decisions together regarding their children, their finances, and their futures. The ideal mediator will have a background in both law and psychology/counseling, so (s)he can ensure that both spouses have all of the necessary legal and financial information while helping them to communicate and negotiate effectively to make fully informed decisions. In comparison to litigation, the emotional and financial benefits of the mediation process are immense; for both the divorcing couple and, most importantly, for the children involved.

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