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11 Benefits of Mediation for Couples

Mediation is often viewed through the lens of divorce, but it offers numerous benefits to couples in any stage of their relationship – whether it’s new, struggling, or nearing the end. This process provides a neutral, confidential, and safe space for partners to express their needs and concerns without escalating tensions – and it has the potential to save a lot of money as well.

How exactly does mediation work? And what are the benefits of pursuing it?

The Mediation Process

Mediation is entered voluntarily by both parties participating in it. The parties agree on a neutral third party, called a mediator, to guide the discussion, resolve disagreements, and generally act in the interest of finding a compromise between those parties. Unlike a judge, the mediator will not make any final decisions or judgments. Instead, the mediator is simply meant to facilitate a healthy, neutral dialogue where both parties can reach an agreement.

This is usually an inexpensive and speedy process, though that does depend on your ability to find a good mediator and make sure both parties enter mediation in good faith. Mediation can be used as a solution for a divorce or dissolution, but it can also be used for creating prenuptial agreements and resolving other legally relevant disagreements in the relationship.

The Benefits of Mediation for Couples

These are some of the most important benefits of mediation for couples:

  1.   Litigation avoidance. The first and arguably most powerful benefit of mediation is the potential to avoid litigation. According to attorney Rowdy G. Williams: “When you think of fairly dividing your assets in a divorce, you might think that going to court and fighting for your fair share is necessary. Unfortunately, court litigation can leave bad blood between the two of you, and it can be exhausting and expensive to drag out litigation over the course of the divorce proceedings.” Litigation is complicated, stressful, time consuming, and expensive, so avoiding it is massively advantageous for everyone involved.
  2.   Cost savings. While you will have to pay some money for mediation services, mediation is generally much less expensive than alternative solutions. It’s an easy way to save money, provided both parties want to find a viable compromise.
  3.   Confidentiality. Some couples appreciate the fact that mediation is generally confidential. The discussions and outcomes related to your mediation will be kept secret, unlike public court records.
  4.   Informality. It might seem like entering mediation is a form of legal escalation, and it’s technically more formal than simply having a conversation at your dining room table. But realistically, this is an informal discussion. You can wear what you want, you can relax, and you can converse as you see fit.
  5.   Speed. People also appreciate mediation because of its relative speed. If you decide to go to court for a divorce, or if you allow a judge to resolve your dispute, it could take months or even years to reach a resolution. In contrast, mediation can potentially resolve some of your issues in the span of a single day.
  6.   Party control. In certain phases of divorce proceedings, it will feel like you don’t have any control. Your lawyers will do the talking and a judge may make some of the decisions. In mediation, each party will have more autonomy and control over what they say and the agreements they reach.
  7.   Neutral oversight. Resolving differences privately shares many advantages with mediation, but mediation is advantageous because you’ll have a neutral third party overseeing the conversation. This way, disputes can be resolved easier, and no party will have an unfair advantage.
  8.   Relationship preservation. Pursuing mediation is considered a peaceful move that both parties should appreciate. If you’re interested in ending the relationship on the best possible terms, it’s ideal. If you’re forced to fight things out in court, you may not be so lucky.
  9.   Mutual satisfaction. There’s an old adage that “a good compromise is when both parties are dissatisfied.” But in mediation, the goal is to find an outcome that both parties appreciate. It’s perhaps your best opportunity to make sure both parties get what they want or get something close to what they want.
  10.   Comprehensive agreements. The agreements you make in a mediation setting can be as comprehensive as you wish. You can tackle matters like asset division, child custody, and much, much more.
  11.   A foundation for future collaboration. The results of your mediation provide a foundation for future collaboration. This is especially important if you and your partner need to work together in the future, such as if you’re co-parenting.

Mediation isn’t always the right strategy, and it doesn’t always work as successfully as we’d like. However, it’s an incredibly valuable tool for millions of couples and unfortunately, it’s underutilized. Consider participating in mediation for any marital or relationship disagreement that you can’t resolve on your own.