Many divorcing couples are able to use mediation to resolve their disputes and reach a settlement that both former spouses are satisfied with. But whether a divorce mediation is successful or not depends to a large extent on the participants. Spouses who are able to negotiate fairly and without excessive emotion, despite their personal differences, are more likely to negotiate a fair settlement that those who go in with an attitude of trying to “get” their ex.
Even if the spouses cannot settle on a division of assets or a child custody schedule, the mediation can be helpful by making each side’s goals clear to the other spouse — and to themselves.
Sometimes, a spouse has a gut feeling of what he or she wants out of the divorce, but is unable to clearly articulate it. Getting into the mediation room, perhaps after consulting with a divorce attorney, can give the spouse the chance to reflect on his or her priorities.
This can also give the other spouse the chance to hear those goals from the first spouse’s mouth, or the mouth of that spouse’s lawyer. Sometimes, a divorce filing does not capture the spouse’s true goals, especially if he or she is using it as a bargaining maneuver. It could be that the spouse’s position is much more flexible than it first appeared.
This chance for each side to explain their positions could bring them much closer to a settlement, even if that happens down the line, and not during the mediation.