How do I know If my spouse and I should mediate our divorce?

This is a very important question that does not have a definitive answer. Only you and/or your spouse can have any idea of whether or not mediating your divorce is possible or even worth exploring. Mediation should probably not be considered until things have cooled down a bit and both of you are in more of the acceptance stage that divorce is inevitable. You do not want to ask your spouse to mediate the divorce soon after you make them aware that you want out of the marriage. The initial shock of divorce will almost always discourage participation.

We do have a few guidelines that will help classify you and your spouse as a couple that should or should not attempt mediation.

If you can answer yes to most of these questions, you and your spouse are likely candidates for a successful divorce through mediation.

1 - Is the decision to divorce somewhat mutual? Did you both sense that things were not right, knowing that divorce was always a possibility? Do you and your spouse both feel somewhat relieved that the thought of separating is now in the open?.

2 - Do you both feel as though you have given equal effort to making the marriage work? Do you both agree that you have exhausted all options to reconcile?

3. Do you and your spouse need to stay on good terms after the divorce? Have you and your spouse discussed staying friends? Do you and your spouse want to try to keep some of the same friends or keep in touch with each other’s relatives?

4. Do you both agree that neither you nor your spouse is entirely to blame for the failure of the marriage?

5. Even though you are getting divorced, do you both still trust one another?

6. Can you and your spouse have arguments or disagreements that do not end up with severe regrets? Can you argue without saying or doing something you wish you had not.

7. Are both you and your spouse in good health, both physically and mentally?

8. Do you both have a good understanding of the financial part of your marriage relationship?

How do I introduce the option of mediation to my spouse?

1. Make sure there has been a "cooling off period".

2. Clearly state your willingness to negotiate a fair settlement. Express your wishes of an amicable divorce.

3. Propose that you both at least give it a try. You both deserve it as well as the kids.

4. Emphasize all the advantages (time, money, stress, confidentiality, etc.) .

5. Provide educational material about mediation and how it works. Allow your spouse to read this book.

6. Allow your spouse to participate and even be fully responsible for choosing a mediator.

7. Do not press the issue. Allow for several weeks before you ask again.

Again, what are the advantages of mediation?

- Mediation is more private than court.
- Mediation is less expensive than court.
- Mediation is typically faster than court.
- Mediation allows for an easier emotional recovery.
- Mediation allows for an amicable relationship during and after divorce.
- Mediation will still protect your legal rights with hiring lawyers to review the settlement.
- You can stop the mediation process at any time.
- Mediation will help protect the children.