Divorce and Transitions: Mardi Winder-Adams
In the emotional turmoil, divorce invariably brings, mediation emerges as an option to generate rationality and calm.
This process is not merely a tool but a holistic approach that prioritizes the well-being of all parties while allowing the couple to create their own terms for dividing assets, liabilities, and co-parenting duties.
Divorce, by its nature, can be contentious. It’s a realm where hurt feelings, the dissolution of shared dreams, and the division of shared lives converge. This mix can often lead to prolonged legal battles, where the courtroom becomes a battlefield, and the only winners are those hired to fight the wat. However, as many have realized, the adversarial legal process rarely leaves either party feeling good. This is where mediation offers an alternative path to create positive results and a mutually beneficial resolution.
“One of the most significant benefits of mediation is its potential to reduce conflict.”
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process whereby a neutral third party, the mediator, facilitates communication between the divorcing parties to reach a settlement or at least to have a place to discuss options and ideas. The role of the mediator is not to make decisions or provide legal advice but to help the couple explore their options and negotiate their agreement.
One of the most significant benefits of mediation is its potential to reduce conflict. In the traditional divorce scenario, each party is often entrenched in their position, viewing the process as a zero-sum or win-at-all-costs experience. Mediation, on the other hand, fosters a collaborative environment. It encourages open communication and helps both parties to understand each other’s perspectives. This is particularly valuable when children are involved, as an ongoing conflict between parents can devastate the kids.
Confidentiality To Explore Options:
Mediation also offers a level of confidentiality that is not available in the typical court process. Court proceedings are public, and the divorce details become public record. Mediation happens in private, and it can include topics the couple wants to discuss that may not be addressed in a formal court hearing. This confidentiality can provide a level of comfort to both parties, allowing them to speak more freely and negotiate more effectively.
Mediation Reduces Costs:
The cost of divorce is another area where mediation has a marked advantage. Legal battles can be expensive, with costs escalating as the parties become more locked in their positions. Mediation can be a cost-effective alternative, as it is typically quicker and involves fewer legal fees. The money saved can be a vital financial lifeline post-divorce, especially when the parties may be transitioning from a dual-income household to managing on their own.
Creating A Settlement That Works For You:
Mediation also allows for greater control over the outcome. In a court-ordered settlement, the final decisions are in the hands of the judge, who, despite their best intentions, may not fully understand the nuances of the family’s dynamics.
“This self-determination can lead to greater satisfaction with the outcome..”
Mediation empowers the divorcing couple to make decisions about their future tailored to their unique circumstances. This self-determination can lead to greater satisfaction with the outcome and reduce the likelihood of future modifications and problems with compliance with the divorce decree.
Speed Of The Process:
Today, online and in-person mediation is flexible and customized to fit the specific needs and timelines of the parties involved. Unlike the court system, which is often backlogged and operates on strict procedural timelines, mediation sessions can be scheduled at the convenience of the couple and the mediator. This can reduce the time of the divorce to weeks or months rather than waiting up to a year or more for a place on a court docket.
Mediation Provides A Better Sense Of Closure:
From a psychological standpoint, the mediation process can provide a sense of closure. It allows both parties to feel heard and contribute to resolving their marital dissolution rather than the process being impersonal and abstract. This involvement in the decision-making process can be empowering and foster a sense of healing, as opposed to the helplessness and animosity that a court-determined outcome may produce.
“Mediation process can provide a sense of closure.”
Helping With Co-Parenting Relationships:
When children are involved, mediation takes on an even greater significance. It models positive conflict resolution and demonstrates to children that even in the face of profound disagreement, their parents can work together respectfully to resolve their issues. This can provide a sense of security during what is often a destabilizing time for children.
In addition, mediation can help establish a foundation for the co-parenting relationship between the parents. By learning to communicate and negotiate during mediation, the parties can develop skills that will be invaluable as they continue to cooperate. This is crucial, as the end of a marriage does not mean the end of the need for cooperation in raising children.
In most situations, mediation is an essential tool and option in the divorce process. It promotes understanding, reduces anger, and focuses on the family’s future well-being rather than the past’s pain. For couples facing the challenges of divorce, mediation offers not just a legal solution but a pathway to begin the process of healing and moving forward with a sense of control and understanding.
About the Author:
Mardi Winder-Adams is an Executive and Leadership Coach, Certified Divorce Transition Coach, and a Credentialed Distinguished Mediator in Texas. She has experienced her own divorce, moved to a new country and started her own business, and worked through the challenges of being a caregiver and managing the loss of a spouse.
Handling life transitions and pivots is her specialty! In her professional role as a divorce coach, Mardi has helped hundreds of women before, during, and after divorce to reduce the emotional and financial costs of the process. She is the founder of Positive Communication Systems, LLC.