People often discuss mediation as a tool for those mostly ready for divorce and dealing with minimal conflict. Many people will dismiss the idea that mediation will work for couples that are currently in the middle of a bitter divorce.
After all, when emotions run high, people are unlikely to cooperate with one another. Instead, they may do whatever they can throughout the divorce to win over their spouse, whatever that means to them. Such couples often think that they must go to court and rely on a judge to make major decisions for their family.
Despite what people often assume, mediation can be especially useful for spouses in high-conflict divorces. It may be the only means of reaching a settlement that both parties agree on without litigating in the family courts. Why is mediation so useful in high-conflict divorces?
The process is confidential
Illinois state law protects mediation records as confidential in all but the rarest cases. Spouses can discuss matters that they would not want to introduce in family court proceedings. Infidelity, substance abuse and numerous other issues that could potentially influence the property division and custody decisions for the couple could seem too embarrassing to explore in open court.
However, in the privacy of mediation, it may be possible to discuss misconduct and other issues so that the solutions are truly appropriate given the circumstances.
Mediation can keep you separate
Mediation can involve everybody sitting down together at the same time and having a facilitated discussion. The mediator helps the parties work out a compromise and keep the discussion civil.
However, mediators can also help in a situation where spouses can’t even stand to be in the same room with one another. Through staggered meetings or shuttle mediation, where the mediator goes back and forth between rooms, it is possible to keep the spouses separate while still negotiating an agreement. Even in families dealing with safety issues related to abuse, shuttle mediation can allow for an uncontested divorce filing.
Instead of assuming that litigation is inevitable when conflict is intense in the early stages of divorce, it may be better for couples to look into ways to resolve those conflicts before they go to court. Learning more about divorce mediation can help those who believe that a court battle is the only option in their upcoming divorce.