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Every marriage crisis is a sign of disrupted marital relationships. Marital problems that lead to a divorce indicate spousal relationships have reached a critical point where going to a pre-divorce state is usually impossible.
People often find themselves surprised when they realize their marriage is ending, which causes various feelings such as distrust, anger, and resentment. Some spouses even feel revengefulness and the need to hurt a person they once loved and with whom they share the happiest memories.
When a divorce becomes unavoidable, the former spouses have two choices: they can further deteriorate their relationship, hurting themselves and their children, or go separate ways while building a productive and peaceful post-divorce relationship, benefiting both themselves and their children.
The outcome depends on the divorce method spouses choose to end their marriage. The court process will almost inevitably lead to alienation and post-divorce hostilities.
Conversely, divorce mediation will enable spouses to reap the full benefits of an out-of-court dispute resolution. Opting for mediation means a brighter post-divorce future, happier former spouses, and an effective co-parenting relationship.
Here are some examples of how divorce mediation can help you build a productive post-divorce relationship:
Court litigation is a conventional method of ending a marriage and resolving divorce-related disputes. Nevertheless, litigation is an adversarial court process in which parties deal with disputed matters in a highly vindictive atmosphere. Parties aim at conquering each other and winning the case without much regard for the overall consequences. The court setting allows no room for genuine reconciliation and building a successful post-divorce relationship. Judges have no knowledge, time, or resources to deal with anything beyond awarding custody, alimony, and other forms of financial compensation. As a public process, litigation means spouses must share the most intimate details of their personal lives. Undergoing discovery and witness testimonies, spouses air their dirty laundry in front of everyone. The information they share during litigation becomes part of a publicly accessible record. The negative side of the public adversarial process between spouses affects children. They cannot be happy seeing their parents fighting over custody, alimony, and parenting time. All that contributes to increasing hostility between former spouses. The courtroom is not a place to build good post-divorce and co-parenting relationships. Litigated divorce wreaks havoc on families, extending courtroom hostilities to relationships after the divorce.
Thankfully, there is an alternative. Instead of entrusting a case to a state-appointed judge, spouses can turn to a neutral third person to help them negotiate their differences. As an out-of-court method, mediation helps former spouses maintain and improve communication after divorce. Family mediation in Florida enables respectful post-divorce relationships and effective co-parenting. A neutral third person, called a mediator facilitates negotiations between the parties, allowing them to discuss disputed issues in a non-adversarial and confidential environment. Mediators have experience and subject matter expertise in dealing with divorce-related issues, including negotiation skills and psychology training. They hold the sessions in a stress-free environment, reducing anxiety and friction between the divorcing spouses. The process enables the free flow of information, allowing spouses to express their emotions. The effect of letting off steam in a respectful manner increases prospects of future positive relationships. The unique benefit of an out-of-court divorce is the ability of parties to express their true feelings, which is why former spouses are more likely to engage in productive post-divorce relationships knowing the divorce process acknowledges their emotions.
As mentioned, the adversarial nature of litigated divorce negatively affects children. In litigation, their parents engage in an all-or-nothing court battle over custody, alimony, and marital property division. During a vindictive court process, spouses often bring up sensitive personal information, harming the reputation. Watching such conflict, in which their parents show their worst side, leaves emotional scars on children.
Contrary to the harmful effects of litigation, divorcing out of court puts emotional health into focus. A non-adversarial and confidential process means no excruciating discovery procedures, public sessions, and witness testimonies. The mediator holds private and joint sessions in which only the parties (and their attorneys) can participate. The mediation process can involve child psychologists and other experts, providing the necessary support to protect their emotional well-being. Dealing with the most contested divorce issues respectfully through negotiations and discussion is the best guarantee that children will go through divorce unharmed.
Mediation experience can help children go through a divorce without negative psychological consequences. Besides, an out-of-court divorce helps parents build constructive parenting relationships after the divorce. Unlike court litigation, mediating divorce allows spouses to settle their future co-parenting responsibilities through peaceful negotiations. The central aspect of post-divorce relationships between parents is sharing parenting time. Scheduling parenting time through negotiation has numerous advantages. Discussing various aspects of their lives in a non-adversarial atmosphere enables flexibility and freedom in adjusting the schedules of parents and their children. Divorced parents who communicate in a friendly manner can change the parenting time plan on the go, adapting it to everyday circumstances. Hence, only mediated divorce can enable spouses to maintain constructive communication and cooperation as parents.
Some spouses are not able to get along after litigation. The court process did not address the underlying psychological issues causing the divorce. Many spouses still feel a grudge against their former life companions. They cannot live as single nor engage in a new emotional relationship. Similarly, they cannot let their former partner live in a relationship with another person. That causes unnecessary tension and post-divorce friction. The reason for that is the inability of the courtroom process to resolve divorce conflict at a deeper level.
Conversely, divorcing out of court can successfully deal with emotional issues that cause a divorce. Motivating spouses to express their emotions, mediators allow them to relieve the emotional burden of separation. The negotiation process helps spouses understand their partner and themselves, allowing them to face the future with more courage and self-confidence. They are more likely to engage in fulfilling relationships with other people while maintaining friendly and positive communication with their former spouses.
Mediation offers numerous advantages over litigation. The effectiveness of the mediation process depends on the mediator you choose – only the best mediators can help you overcome differences and build successful post-divorce relationships.
As a certified Florida family mediator, Ann M. Goade has over 35 years of experience dealing with family matters.
Ms. Goade knows how vital the quality of post-divorce relationships is for you and your children, which is why she is committed to enabling spouses to achieve reconciliation and build successful relationships after divorce.
Ms. Goade practices family mediation in Martin County, FL, Lucie County, FL, Palm Beach, FL, West Palm Beach, FL, Orange County, FL, and Hillsborough County, FL.