Some people who handle complex business negotiations flawlessly would never have the same luck resolving legal matters at the end of a marriage. There’s a good reason for that. You don’t have to have an emotional investment in a business deal, but it’s difficult to put aside feelings when a dispute involves divorce issues.
British Columbia spouses sometimes feel raw and vulnerable during a marital breakdown. Emotional stress makes it difficult to make decisions about child custody, support, accessibility to children and property division. Some frustrated spouses turn disagreements over to a judge, but there is another way to go.
Divorce mediation involves the use of an unbiased third party to facilitate negotiations between spouses. It is not a mediator’s job to make choices for the spouses involved in a divorce dispute or force parties into an agreement. Unlike the adversarial environment of a courtroom, mediation sessions allow both spouses to express their needs and desires and come to a compromise.
Part of a mediator’s job is to help parties communicate so both spouses feel their interests are acknowledged and considered. Dragging a divorce dispute through litigation can create a winner-takes-all atmosphere that can cause long-term hard feelings, if not further disputes down the road.
A lot of the subjects that surface during mediation are very sensitive. The power structure between spouses may not be evenly balanced that if not brought in alignment, can result in an unfair settlement for one party. In some instances, mediators meet separately with spouses.
Successful mediation leads to a signed agreement that is forwarded to a court for approval. However, mediation doesn’t work for all couples, sometimes due to a relationship history of domestic violence. Litigation is always an option.
Mediation can be effective when spouses are willing to work together. An attorney can answer your questions about resolving a divorce dispute using this alternative method.
Source: British Columbia Ministry of Justice, “Family Mediation,” accessed June 19, 2015