For many couples who simply cannot continue in their marriage, a mediated divorce may be a better alternative than outright litigation. Not only is the mediation environment less intimidating than that of a traditional courtroom, but it allows both parties to discuss their needs and wants in a safe and non-confrontational space. An attorney may recommend mediation to a client rather than litigation if it appears that both parties are willing to confront and attempt to solve their differences in an amenable manner.
Mediation offers many advantages in a high net worth divorce involving parents, including greater stability and a more harmonious atmosphere for the children. In addition, mediation is generally less expensive than litigation because of the presence of only one mediator instead of multiple attorneys, and the fact that in mediation both parties are expected and committed to working together to resolve any outstanding issues. However, experts and witnesses may still be called in mediation.
A mediator serves as a communication facilitator, not as a judge, and is not empowered to make decisions. That role is relegated to the parties themselves to craft a compromise. Mediation is generally a valuable alternative to litigation, but in some cases, such as where domestic violence or spousal abuse has occurred, it may be inappropriate. Additionally, mediation is often avoided when the spouses cannot conduct themselves in a civil manner with one another.
When deciding whether to recommend a mediated divorce to a client, an attorney might look at the overall relationship between the spouses and children and whether they can communicate with one another effectively and reasonably. The attorney may also consider the previous relationship and whether any indications of domestic violence exist which might make mediation an unfair environment for one or both parties.