Working through a separation and divorce is difficult enough without the extra stress of court. Especially if there is another way than to go through the expensive waiting game that most often court can be. Perhaps, at this time, you are concerned that it’s too much of a burden to have to think about all the details of the divorce, it’s easier if your lawyer does it for you. They can deal with your ex. The drain divorce can be on you physically and emotionally is enough to cope with. As understandable as that is, what you don’t want, is to give away your power. Although it may seem easier to let someone else handle the difficulties of dealing with your ex, especially if your ex isn’t making life easy for you, what you could actually be doing is making things more complicated, more expensive and more time consuming.
It is wise to get advice from a lawyer in regards to your divorce but at the same time it is important that you take some time to think about the outcome you would like in a property settlement and care of children, if there are any. If you and your ex disagree about how things should be settled, instead of allowing lawyers and the court to take over for you, perhaps instead, you should hold onto your power and find a way to mediate. Mediation will allow you the opportunity to say how you feel and what you want. It is not counselling and it will give you an opportunity to express what you want in a safe and open environment, with an unbiased third person present. It will also give you the opportunity to hear where your ex is coming from and then space to nut out your differences and to come up with an agreement between you. You get to keep your power. If you aren’t happy with the proceedings at any time you can take a break or choose not to agree.
Court does not give you these same opportunities. Once the process of court has begun, from the first letters from solicitors to the court hearing it can feel like endless waves crashing and you can be powerless to stop it. You have very little say in the outcome. It can be a controversial batting back and forth of ‘he’ said, ‘she’ said and you can’t correct anything or stand up for yourself in that tense environment. Often it only adds fuel to an already intense and high conflict situation. When the judge’s decision is final, whether you agree with it or not, there is very little you can do apart from accept the outcome. Of course, there are times when you may have to attend court even if you would prefer not to, but if you have given mediation a chance first and done everything you can to express your point of view, to put your opinion forward and ask for what you want, you have allowed yourself an opportunity to hold onto your power. At the end of the day isn’t that decision more empowering and validating than allowing someone to take over and fight your battle for you?
Mediation can also teach you to continue to compromise long after an agreement has been made. After all, if you have children together, you will be communicating with each for many years after the divorce. Even if only on a business level – the business of your children. Being capable of doing that with confidence in your problem solving and collaboration abilities will help to make life less stressful for all involved.