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Mediation in divorce law: types and approaches

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Mediation

Mediation is more popular than ever these days because of its implementation in jurisdictions around the country and its effectiveness in solving disputes, which benefits the parties who are divorcing and also helps ease the backlog that family courts have.

Within mediation, there are different approaches, depending on the needs of the specific divorcing couple. For example, facilitative mediation, perhaps the most common type and the kind that you have likely heard of, emphasizes the role of a neutral third party who facilitates a conversation between the parties and helps them through any communication problems or disagreements.

Besides facilitative mediation, there are other types that can be extremely helpful. All kinds of mediation require an especially trained mediator. Each state determines what that means for them. It is worthwhile to understand that there is more than one type of mediation, especially so clients can choose the right mediator and get the most out of their mediation session.


As stated above, facilitative mediation uses a neutral third party to help guide communication between parties, fostering an environment where couples can explore options and reach mutually agreeable decisions. This approach empowers the parties to control the decision-making process, with the mediator offering structure and guidance.


Transformative mediation focuses on empowering the parties to understand and transform their conflict using personal growth and communication tools to create a safe environment for the parties to solve conflict not only now but also in the future.


This type of mediation requires that the mediator take a more active role, offering opinions and assessments on legal and practical issues. Non-attorney mediators must refrain from giving legal advice under any circumstances when mediating in a state where they are not licensed attorneys, for ethical reasons. In evaluative mediation, the mediator usually offers a recommendation at the end based on their understanding of applicable laws and precedents.


Narrative mediation places importance on the stories and perspectives of each party. The mediator helps the parties reframe their narrative around the conflict so they can see the problem from a different point of view. By looking at conflict from different angles, parties can often come up with creative solutions that they had not thought of before.


As properly titled, child-centered mediation places its focus on the best interests of the child, with the mediator assisting the parties in reaching an agreement, which keeps the child as the primary focus of the mediation session. Child-centered mediators work to create a co-parenting framework that fosters stability and positive relationships.

The choice to attend mediation and what approach a client chooses is a personal decision. Couples can select the type of mediation that best suits them based on what their needs and goals are, whether it is amicable communication, preserving relationships for the sake of the children, personal growth, legal advice, reframing narratives, and so on.

It is critically important to note that for mediation to work, parties must be emotionally and mentally present during the session and give of themselves to achieve the goals that the couple has set for their mediation.