Media portrayals of divorce often amplify the negative. They show couples as antagonistic, with anger and arguments defining the separation. But it does not have to play out that way.

In reality, many divorcing couples want the process to remain as cordial as possible. This is particularly important if there are children that will be impacted by the life change. So how does a couple amicably go through a divorce? One option is mediation.

How mediation works

The idea of mediation is to give spouses the time, space and support to work through issues related to the divorce on their own, without having to rely solely on the courts. It’s a way to problem-solve, essentially, in order to reach solutions both parties are comfortable with. Mediation can touch on anything, including:

  • Property division
  • Child support
  • Parenting time
  • Grandparent visitation

During mediation, a neutral third party – the mediator – guides the couple through these discussions. A mediator does not make any decisions, but helps both parties understand where the other is coming from, and facilitates productive conversations on the way to an agreement. The spouses can each participate on their own with the mediator, or may opt to have an attorney present.

When everyone is satisfied with the agreements, any necessary documents can be prepared and filed with the court system.

Why you might want to use mediation

Mediation may not be for every couple, but there are some significant potential benefits.

Going through mediation can be faster – and in turn, more cost effective – than relying on the standard court divorce process. Couples retain a level of control they may not have otherwise, avoiding surprises and coming up with their own solutions.

Mediation can also help separating spouses stay on good terms, with each able to share their concerns and be heard by the other.

Going through a divorce is challenging enough on its own. For couples who want to try to avoid the confrontational arguments and added stress during this significant life adjustment, mediation may be a path worth considering.