The countless benefits and pitfalls you should know before making a decision.
There are many important choices that arrive in front of each party involved with a family separation. Who keeps the house, which days the children spend with each parent, how the endless number of household items are divided. One decision that proves crucial to get right however, is how to negotiate formal separation procedures.
Some families are able to wade through this process and come to agreements without any external assistance. For most couples though, especially those with children in the mix, some form of unbiased guidance is needed to keep things civil. With over 47% of Australian divorces involving children under the age of 18, family mediation has risen as an amicable route for separating families in recent years.
By Definition What is Family Mediation & a Divorce Lawyer?
- Family mediation utilises 1 mediator, whereas 2 divorce lawyers are required to reach a similar outcome.
- In family mediation, the person guiding the discussion is neutral, divorce lawyers will each represent their client’s best interest only regardless of the fallout or flow-on consequences.
- Family mediators help both parties to make a decision together, as opposed to divorce lawyers handing out solely legal advice.
- Family mediation is fast, resolutions can take anywhere down to 2 weeks. Divorce lawyer-assisted separation can take years to get in to, through and completely out of the legal system.
- Family mediation is very affordable, the cost of which is split between both soon to be ex-partners. With legal representation, there are two professionals to be paid, each vastly more costly than a mediator.
- Through family mediation, the final choices are made together. Contrastingly, when divorce lawyers are hired and an agreement cannot be found, the divorce will carry on through court and the final say is had by a judge, out of the interested parties’ hands.
- Family mediation is completely confidential and all items discussed stay private. Separations aided by divorce lawyers involve further individuals with sensitive matters and discussions can become public if taken to court.
Pitfalls of Engaging a Divorce Lawyer
When both parties enlist the help of divorce lawyers and battle proceedings out, even the nominated winner is never a true winner. Both parties waste valuable time and a great deal of money just to reach an outcome.
With one third of all Australian children witnessing the breakup of a parent’s marriage, and close to half of these children also witnessing the breakup of a parent’s second marriage, time spent in legal negotiations is valuable time that could be better spent with the kids involved.
The tone of litigation is that of a contest. In many instances, the divorce lawyer will not permit the client to participate in proceeds at all, for fear of jeopardising the case. This can even include the opening statement and the entire negotiation process. Instead, parties wait in silence as their representation decides the converse that determines the fate of their assets and children.
Benefits of Family Mediation
Mediators are trained extensively to be able to balance the power between both individuals in a conversation, as dominance on one side is highly common in divorce and family break ups. Through this continually restored balance, tender conversations can be had with each person having safe space to voice their concerns and opinions.
A common misconception is that family mediation can drag out the length of a divorce, when in fact the opposite is generally true. A divorce is never a quick process and in most cases, family mediation will help streamline the decision-making on big issues, reducing the time it takes to finalise the case.
On average there are 1.8 children in every Australian divorce, whose lives are often impacted in one way or another during the separation. The need for swift yet effective negotiations is important.
The inevitable outcome of mediation is a mutually agreed-upon compromise. Not only is this beneficial in both parties gaining their desired outcome, but it also sets the tone for an agreeable nature in dealing with future finance and child-related decisions. Compromise leads to open lines of communication and a neutral headspace when discussing difficult topics beyond the walls of mediation, a far superior alternative to hostility, especially so when there are children involved.
Making Your Decision and the Final Outcome
Enlisting the help of a divorce lawyer can create a bitter-ever-after for everyone involved in a separation, with little to no intentions of amicable communication thereafter. When two parties work together to find reasonable resolutions through mediation, a fresh start is given to each of them and any children or family involved.
The choice between mediation and legal representation essentially comes down to each family unit’s particular circumstances and wishes. The one certainty however is that a successful outcome requires commitment from each individual, to find a reasonable outcome.