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Contentious Divorce? 5 Reasons Mediation May Still Work

by Jamie Nichols

Mediation is an alternative to traditional divorce cases that can make things much easier and less expensive. But many Americans believe that mediation can only work in a divorce involving very amicable parties — not in an emotional or contentious situation. In fact, this isn't always true, and mediation may even be better for some couples facing a challenging divorce. Here are five reasons why it can work.

1. Mediators Are Trained Professionals

While you and your spouse may not be able to sit in a room together alone without arguing, remember that you're not alone in mediation. Professional mediators are trained and skilled individuals who have experience dealing with divorce conflicts of all types. Their job is to keep conversations productive and focused on the right things. 

2. You Can Involve Other Professionals

If your negotiations would benefit from the help of a different kind of professional, you can get them involved in the process. This might include a marriage counselor or therapist, for instance, or a children's advocate. If just one party wants to seek outside guidance, they can meet with professionals outside the mediation room. But if both agree, that person can even be in the room along with the mediator. 

3. You May Need to Work Together Later

For some couples, divorce isn't the end of their connection. If you will have to co-parent or run a family business with your ex, you need to develop an ability to communicate in a healthy manner, stay focused on what matters, and resolve conflicts. Mediation during divorce helps teach you these skills and sets a precedent for successful cooperation for a common good. 

4. You Can Limit Subjects

You don't have to use mediation for the entire divorce. In fact, many couples use it to work out things like custody arrangements or division of assets while using traditional methods to handle other issues. So if mediation might work to resolve part of your dispute, it will at least take that challenge off the table.

5. Common Goals Can Bring You Together

Divorce through a court case is an inherently combative situation. But mediation is not a zero-sum game, where one person wins while the other loses. Instead, it seeks compromises that allow everyone to win a little and give up a little. Even a couple who starts the process far apart on issues may find that the common goals of mediation bring them closer to agreement. 

Although you may have a hard time seeing how your divorce could be resolved without a judge's ruling, divorce mediation could be the answer. Learn more about how it works by meeting with an attorney in your state today.