Three Questions To Help You Decide If It's A Good Idea To Bring A Divorce Mediator On Board
Although divorce mediation can be a great tool to help you and your spouse along on the path to becoming ex-spouses, it's a tool that works best in certain situations and with certain couples. Here are three questions that can help you figure out if your relationship and your current stage of progress are right for mediation.
1. Are you both on the same page with your relationship goals?
Although it may seem like a no-brainer, it needs to be said that both you and your spouse need to be on the same page about making the divorce work out rather than making the marriage work out. While it's true that in some rare cases both partners equally wish to get out of the marriage, many divorces start out with just one partner who wishes to dissolve the relationship. If you're at this initial stage and your partner still has some reservations, he or she will be reluctant to work together on coming up with fair divorce settlements, preferring instead to hold out hope that you'll change your mind. Give your partner some time to come to terms with the idea and get more on board with the agenda before you start mediation.
2. Can you both articulate your goals and needs clearly and without inhibition?
Some relationships fall apart because of a fundamental breakdown of communication between partners. If this sounds like you, it's possible that you'll have a hard time with mediation too. Both partners need to have a clear idea of what they think they should end up with in a fair settlement and need to also be able to articulate those opinions and goals clearly. On the other hand, a communication breakdown could be due to a failure to listen, and mediators are excellent listeners, so just because you can't communicate with your spouse well doesn't necessarily mean that mediation won't work for you. If the reason you have difficulty communicating is because of fear, however (perhaps due to some type of abuse between partners), mediation is not for you; if you're the victim of any type of abuse, you'll need to move out to a safe location and start a litigated divorce process instead, because fear of abuse puts you at a fundamental disadvantage in a mediation situation.
3. Are you ready to work cooperatively instead of antagonistically?
As mentioned above, any abuse (not just physical abuse) within the relationship means that mediation is not for you; you won't have a level playing field, the abused partner won't be safe during the process, and the abusing partner won't be playing fair. But even in non-abusive relationships, sometimes the partners are simply too hurt and antagonized to agree on much of anything by the time they decide to divorce, making it hard for each person to agree to a compromise that will have any benefits for the other person. If you're at a low point in your relationship and can't stop squabbling over tiny details, you may wish to consider either separating for a time to let feelings simmer down first or else going for a more structured court divorce.
These three questions will help you and your spouse decide if mediation is the right decision for your relationship and situation at this time. As you can see, alternatives include choosing a different type of divorce, waiting until the right time before starting the mediation process, or starting out slow with legal separation and moving on to divorce mediation later when you've had time to work through some of your emotions. Contact a company like Divorce Mediation Institute of Utah to learn more.