Divorce co-mediation is a viable alternative to litigation for clients who want to avoid the rigidity, stress, and confusion associated with traditional negotiation tactics.
By Ellen Barron Feldman and Brian James, Family and Divorce Mediators
Co-mediation Helps Clients Regain Control of Their Divorce
A typical divorce scenario involves a negotiation process that is emotional and traumatic for both parents and their children. However, co-mediation offers your clients an alternative to traditional litigation and mediation. Co-mediators can help parents understand the new roles that result from a divorce by listening to what each party says and offering both female and male perspective. With a co-mediation approach to divorce, emotional issues are resolved more quickly, more creatively, and at a lower cost than with traditional litigation.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
With divorce mediation, clients are more inclined to honor their obligations than if a judge had imposed a parenting plan, division of assets, and financial commitments. Clients who participate in mediation during the divorce process are less likely to experience post-decree conflict as new issues arise, leading to fewer court appearances, reduced stress, and a more straightforward process.
The Benefits of Divorce Co-Mediation
Co-mediation features two divorce mediators rather than just one, providing your clients with advantages absent from both traditional divorce litigation and single-mediator situations. Co-mediators work together to review your clients’ documents, attend every mediation session, and provide guidance as each of the issues surrounding the divorce is addressed. Co-mediation often brings together mediators of different professional backgrounds, ensures an efficient and focused process, offers a two-for-one hourly rate, and facilitates effective male-female communication to make divorce a more positive experience for everyone involved.
Divorce Co-Mediation Advantage: Multiple Perspectives
The different professional backgrounds of co-mediators enable them to hear and understand the clients in different ways. For instance, Ellen is an attorney with 15 years of commercial litigation experience who understands the expense, time, and emotional burden of resolving disputes in court. Ellen’s co-mediator, Brian, has a background in the mediation of cases for victims of domestic violence in the criminal justice system as well as a private mediation practice.
Divorce Co-Mediation Advantage: Cost and Value
Both co-mediators are with the clients at every stage of the process, even though they charge only one hourly rate. This affords divorcing couples the benefit of receiving input from two experienced professionals for the price of one.
Divorce Co-Mediation Advantage: Effective Communication
Co-mediators set an example of effective communication for the couple. They listen to each other present creative ways to handle each issue and respond with respect; this dynamic encourages the couple to do the same.
Divorce Co-Mediation Advantage: Focus on Children in Divorce
The goal of co-mediation is to help the couple focus on the future instead of the past and to direct their energy toward protecting the best interests of their children. When divorcing clients have children together, the goal is to help both parties be the best parents possible as they move into their new lives. Effective communication leads to fewer fights in front of the children and more time to focus on their children’s best interests.
Ellen Barron Feldman and Brian James are experienced family and divorce mediators at C.E.L and Associates, with offices throughout Chicagoland and Southeastern Wisconsin. www.celandassociates.com.