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Can mediation work when emotions run high during divorce?

On Behalf of | Mar 22, 2024 | Mediation

Divorce mediation involves spouses intentionally cooperating with one another in the hopes of an uncontested divorce. During mediation sessions, spouses sit down to talk about matters on which they disagree or need to work out in order to reach a mutually beneficial divorce settlement.

A neutral third-party mediator helps guide the conversation and maintain a cooperative atmosphere. Ideally, mediation ends with spouses reaching an agreement. After signing paperwork together, the spouses can proceed with an uncontested divorce filing.

Mediation is a powerful tool utilized by those with a few outstanding disagreements who hope to have a faster or lower-conflict divorce. It can also be a useful tool for those who find that they have too many emotions for an amicable, low-conflict negotiation approach.

There’s more than one format for divorce mediation

People often visualize mediation as a process where two people sit down in a room with one another and multiple legal professionals. While that is possible, it is far from the only form of mediation that currently occurs.

The last few years have seen a marked increase in digital mediation meetings where people are not physically in the same room as the mediator. Even if they want in-person sessions, not everyone needs to be together at the same time. Spouses who already know that a face-to-face discussion is likely to result in tears or a screaming fight could seek alternative arrangements when proposing mediation.

Caucus mediation or shuttle mediation keeps the two parties in separate spaces. The mediator has brief conversations with each party and goes back and forth with the goal of settling the disagreements in a mutually acceptable manner. There are multiple different approaches to caucus or shuttle mediation, each of which offers benefits and challenges.

The exact structure of the mediation process isn’t the most important factor. Instead, what matters is the ability of the spouses to commit to the process and to find ways to make it work for them. While mediation doesn’t work for every couple, it can still be an option in cases with higher levels of conflict or strong emotional reactions between the spouses.

Couples who share children, who worry about their privacy or who need very specific terms in their divorce settlement may find that divorce mediation is a viable option. Learning more about the alternatives to litigated divorce may benefit those seeking the most peaceful solution at the end of a marriage.