Divorce is never easy. You’re undoing joint finances, splitting time with children, dividing your possessions, and most importantly, accepting that a relationship that you once hoped would last forever has ended.
The American Psychological Association calculates divorce rates in the United States between 40 and 50%. A study by the University of Maryland – College Park shows higher divorce rates among couples above 45 years of age. As we get older, change becomes a more daunting possibility.
We are used to the stories of traumatic divorces, the news of bitter disputes and the images of children in movies having to decide in family court which parent they will live with. Many people cringe at that image of divorce, and others might rather stay in an unhappy marriage than put their families and children through the process.
If you’re considering divorce, you should know this doesn’t have to be the way it goes. Do you believe your marriage is over but want to remain friends after the divorce? Do you want to set up an example for your children about how to successfully manage conflict? Mediation is an option for divorcing couples that allow for an easier transition for everyone involved. It keeps everyone out of family court and gives divorcing couples a voice in what they want at the end of the relationship.
Mediation takes the guessing out of divorcing and guarantees that no decisions will be made outside of the divorcing couple’s wishes. It creates room for greater equality in dividing assets and ensures no spouse receives special treatment. Mediation is also confidential, so if you are concerned about what your family, friends, and employers might say or think about you during a divorce process, mediation could be an alternative for you.
Not every couple can go through their divorce process through mediation. When issues like violence and intimidation are part of the reasons for the divorce, mediation is not recommended. Before starting a mediation process, both parties should be very honest with themselves and each other about their ability to stay respectful and open-minded as the process goes on. Anything that threatens open communication will get in the way of a successful mediation.
If you’re wondering if mediation is for you, think about this: you once loved the person you’re divorcing. You may even have children with him or her. Once upon a time, that person might have been your best friend.
Wouldn’t you want your children to see both of their parents happy? Move on with your life without regrets or resentments against the person you once shared a life with? Be genuinely happy for their successes later on?
If the answer to any of those questions is yes, mediation might be for you. Let’s find out together.
American Psychological Association. “Marriage and Divorce.” Https://www.apa.org, www.apa.org/topics/divorce/. Accessed 11 June 2019.
Miller, Ryan W. “Add Divorce to the List of Things Millennials Are Killing.” USA TODAY, 26 Sept. 2018, www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/09/26/millennials-blame-lower-us-divorce-rate-study/1429494002/. Accessed 11 June 2019.
Thompson, Ph.D., Jeff. “Stories Mediators Tell.” Psychology Today, 17 Sept. 2012, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beyond-words/201209/stories-mediators-tell. Accessed 11 June 2019.