Posted on September 19, 2013 · Posted in Blog

Can Divorce Mediation Fail?

Very rarely during the mediation process do parties fail to reach agreement. However, in those rare circumstances, sometimes there is a silver lining to this storm cloud.

divorce decree

We’re fortunate here at Kelowna Divorce Mediation Services to have a successful settlement rate of about 95%. But what about the 5% who don’t reach an agreement? Did the couple waste time and throw away hard-earned cash? No, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a failed mediation. For those 5% who don’t complete the divorce mediation process, I remind them that they may have not reached full agreement but they achieved many positive outcomes. Here are a couple of examples.

1. Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Couples who may arrive at a draw after spending hours in mediation have had a chance to see both the “forest and the trees.” This is significant because couples at the end of their relationship, and in the middle of differing opinion, can lose sight of the important stuff. Negative emotion and fear of the unknown outcome can cloud already confused minds. During mediation, we bring a broad perspective to personal issues as well as years of experience talking with divorcing couples. This big picture perspective goes a long way to smooth ruffled feathers as well as provide a practical guide for resolving a couple’s problems.

2. Identifying Core Issues, Possible Outcomes

A skilled mediator can assist couples to identify the real issues and explore possible options. The divorce mediation process can help repair the most fractured relationship: during sessions, we address issues at the crux of a divorce while keeping emotional and trivial issues in check. It is a possible that a couple might not reach an agreement, however mediation lays the groundwork for a more productive separation.

3. Open Forum for Communication

A peaceful mediation process provides a forum for divorcing couples to safely and confidentially express their true desires which is quite different when individuals use the traditional system with divorce lawyers. Once divorce lawyers take over, couples quit communicating and the accusations and affidavits start flying.Divorce mediation fail

As George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Emotions have no place in the traditional system, yet couples want to tell their stories, and mediation provides them with the only safe, open forum to do so. This can set them up for success in any post-mediation sessions.

4. Less Time Spent in Court

When we follow up on the 5% of couples who leave mediation, we have found that they spend far less time in divorce court than the average Canadian. When a spouse decides to terminate negotiations, the divorce trial is a long and costly process. Multiple days in court, often over trivial issues, translate into thousands of dollars for attorney expenses. Fortunately, for couples who have had mediation, there is a foundation in place, so that less time is spent in court, as well as less money on lawyers’ fees.

So for our clients, divorce mediation cannot really fail, not when there are so many positive outcomes to an often stormy situation. Rather, the mediation process can help even the most troubled spouses resolve issues, remain courteous and protect their family and assets from the battle scene of divorce court.

Family law scholar Dr. Robert Emery says, “how you negotiate your divorce settlement [using mediation or litigation] is going to start you down a path that you will be walking for many, many years.” We believe no matter which path you ultimately choose, divorce mediation with our experts will provide you a light at the end of the tunnel.

If you are interested in our Separation Agreements and Uncontested Divorce services, request a consultation.
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divorce mediation kelownaAbout Kelowna Divorce Mediation Services

We are not expensive lawyers; we are family divorce mediators and rebuilding coaches.  Our boutique divorce mediation firm has become Kelowna’s first choice when dealing with separation and divorce, and beyond. It is possible to reduce stress, time and conflict. Our mediation and rebuilding models educate and empower our clients, so that when you leave you have a document that is guaranteed to stand the test of time, and a process for rebuilding your life.

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