Is mediation a good solution for my divorce? If you are considering mediation it's important to think about that at the outset.
Technically speaking, anything can be mediated, even a nuclear standoff. Compared to the adversarial process, mediation is often a superior way to resolve a divorce case. However, it is not for everyone, and it is often difficult, at the outset, to determine whether mediation is a good fit for a particular case. My experience has shown that the following is important.
Is there equal bargaining power?
It's surprising how often one spouse completely controls the couple's finances and has kept the other in the dark. If that dynamic persists, then the outcome will have no integrity and there will be trouble post-judgment. I try to streamline the process as much as possible, but I make sure that neither spouse is kept in the dark.
Sometimes the inequality is interpersonal. One spouse is quiet and unassertive, and the other does all the "'splainin'". I do everything I can to create a safe mediation environment in which both sides can express themselves in turn, knowing that their voice will be heard.
Actively committing to the process.
One spouse always calls first. It's a good sign when there's already been some discussion about mediation. Sometimes there is wishful thinking about whether the other spouse will commit to the process. Usually, one spouse is ahead of the curve. Although trust can be established, it is not good when the other is reluctantly dragged in to the mediation.
The mediator's impartiality.
Lawyers are adversarial, as is well-known. Less well known: lawyers can also be neutrals, and many of us have extensive training in mediation. Because they know the adversarial process, lawyers are superior mediators. My role is to assist in a cooperative venture.