“My spouse wants us to mediate our divorce. I don’t know much about mediation. What are the benefits of mediation?”
There are many benefits to mediation that make it a very attractive alternative dispute resolution method for those involved with separation and divorce. Overall, it tends to be less costly and less time consuming than the more formal option of litigation. It can be done in the comfort of an office setting instead of court, with or without your lawyers present. Mediation can be very empowering and satisfying to the parties because they have a say in how it turns out. Also, an agreement that is mediated is one which is more likely to be adhered to. Many mediated agreements can be done in just a few sessions over a period of just a month or two. Further, mediation can be “closed” or confidential so that only the outcome or issues agreed upon are put into the mediation report. The discussions or issues that were not agreed to remain confidential. Even if the parties find agreement on just a few of the issues, this can be better than none at all. Most importantly, particularly when there are children involved in a marital breakdown, mediation is a more amicable method of resolving disagreements. Minimizing conflict and optimizing cooperation is the key to helping your children through the changes associated with separation and divorce.
Debra Rodrigues, R.S.W., Acc.F.M. is the director of Peel Counselling & Consulting Services. Since 1992, PCCS has offered a wide variety of professional mental health and family counselling services, as well as specialized conflict resolution and assessment services, at its three Greater Toronto-area offices.