Mediation is becoming more and more common for divorcing couples who are seeking an alternative to the divorce courts. Mediation has a number of benefits, including reduced costs, more control and being able to go at your own pace.
However, the greatest benefit that mediation brings is opening up communication between you and your ex. This is especially important if you have children together.
Being able to communicate rationally and constructively with your ex-spouse is no easy thing for the majority of people. But as long as you both put the interests of your children first then it is something that you will both want to achieve.
It is important to say at this stage that If your past relationship was either physically or emotionally abusive then mediation is not the right process for you and you must seek a good family lawyer to help you through the court process.
It is the job of the mediator to help you to communicate and to jointly agree the terms of your divorce. This is by no means an easy process, but it is much less intimidating than doing it in front of a judge in a law court. If you are both continuing to parent your children then you have a whole lifetime ahead of having to communicate with your ex. This may seem terrifying at this stage, but it is a fact.
You will have to go through school choices, parents evenings, behavioural problems, the first romantic relationships, university and career choices, weddings and grandchildren. The better you communicate the easier every stage and hiccup along the way will be for you and your children.
Of course communication will get easier with time as feelings and emotions naturally calm, but if you do not start out communicating properly you could get into bad habits which will be hard to break. These habits could include one person being completely dominant, personal criticism, only communicating via email and never on the phone or face-to-face, or always being fearful of the next encounter.
By sitting down with a mediator to work out the terms of your divorce you are not only helping yourself in the short term, but you are also empowering yourself and your partner to be able to communicate on a rational and practical level. You will learn when and how to stand up for yourself and when to listen and compromise.
It will not be easy, but in the long run, for both you and your children, it will be worth it.