During divorce mediation, I often see couples struggling with decisions they want to make if those decisions are creative and outside the societal “norm”. One of the many reasons I decided to become a divorce mediator was to help couples/families find their voice and define the rules of their divorce instead of settling for a solution that was not the best for them.
In working together with both parties in a divorce, I help and encourage them to explore the best possible solutions for them and their families, without any judgment. I encourage couples to think creatively with open minds and of course to focus on the best interest of the children when kids are involved.
Here is an example. I once worked with a couple who were stressing over which parent would get to take the kids to Disney for the first time, each not wanting to miss out on this major experience in their children’s lives. I asked them how they felt if perhaps they planned a joint vacation so that each parent could be there.
After talking it through and making some modifications to the details, the couple was relieved that they’d found a workable solution but then asked what people would say. I explained how generally society is still wired to think divorces have to be riddled with conflict and anything different can create uncomfortable feelings.
I also told the couple that the only thing that truly mattered is what they felt and thought about their decisions. If the spouses were on the same page, other people around them would have no other choice but to accept their decisions. Months later after their divorce they each wrote me a note to let me know what a wonderful experience it was to be at Disney with their kids and thanked me for helping them make that decision.
The Many Advantages of Divorce Mediation
Receiving notes like the ones I got from the couple that went together with their kids to Disney is very gratifying, and they serve as a reminder of why I decided to become a divorce mediator in the first place. I love helping couples realize that there is a better way to settle their divorce without having to go through a long, drawn-out court battle.
There are so many ways that couples can benefit from divorce mediation. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Cost Savings: Divorce mediation is generally far more affordable than litigation. While costs vary depending on the case, mediation expenses are typically a fraction of what couples can expect to spend if they litigate their divorce. This cost-saving benefit can ease the financial burden associated with divorce and help both parties move forward with fewer financial constraints.
- Time Efficiency: Divorce mediation typically moves much faster than traditional court processes as it allows couples to avoid lengthy delays associated with the overwhelmed family court systems. Since the Covid lockdowns, the courts in states like New Jersey have been backed up for over a year in some cases.
- Amicable Resolutions: Divorce mediation promotes a more amicable resolution by fostering a cooperative environment where both parties can voice their concerns and work together to reach mutually beneficial agreements. The process encourages open communication and understanding, which can help reduce conflict and improve the overall experience for both spouses.
- Reduced Stress & Trauma: The cooperative nature of mediation helps to reduce the overall stress and trauma associated with the divorce process. By cultivating a more supportive environment, mediation can help couples navigate the emotional challenges of divorce and minimize the negative impact on the spouses and their children.
- Objective Third-Party Guidance: Divorce mediators are trained professionals who provide objective third-party guidance. Their approach helps couples resolve disputes and reach agreements without imposing decisions on either party. The mediator’s impartiality promotes a relaxed and constructive atmosphere, allowing both spouses to communicate openly and work together to find mutually beneficial solutions.
- Confidentiality: Unlike traditional court processes, which produce public records, mediation is a private process that maintains the privacy of both parties involved. This confidentiality can provide a sense of security and comfort to those who need or prefer to keep their personal matters private.
- Increased Flexibility and Control: With divorce mediation, the spouses have far more control over the outcome compared to traditional litigation. They can work together to create customized solutions that cater to their unique needs and circumstances, instead of having a judge impose a one-size-fits-all decision. This flexibility allows the couple to develop an agreement that they both feel satisfied with, contributing to a sense of “winning” for both parties.
How Mediation Helps Foster Creative Divorce Agreements
As I talked about earlier, one of the things that makes me most passionate about being a divorce mediator is this process provides a platform for couples to take control of their post-divorce futures, even if some of the terms and conditions of their settlement seem taboo or outside of societal norms.
One example of a creative resolution that others might wonder about is “nesting”. Nesting is a co-parenting arrangement in which the children remain in the family home while the parents take turns living there. This approach minimizes disruption to the children’s lives and ensures a stable environment during the transition.
Nesting is certainly not for everyone, and probably not even for most divorcing couples. This approach requires a high level of communication and cooperation between the parents, and it can be a good option for those who are still on relatively good terms and are committed to prioritizing their children’s well-being.
Another example of a creative resolution could involve unconventional asset division agreements. For instance, a couple might agree to lopsided sharing of ownership in a business, with one spouse taking a higher percentage of the company while the other receives a percentage of the profits as a form of spousal support. This type of agreement can be mutually beneficial, even though others might not understand the reasoning behind it.
In case you are wondering if any couples ever actually use the unconventional asset division approach, consider the 2019 divorce between Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his ex-wife MacKenzie. The world’s richest couple at the time reportedly used divorce mediation to reach an unconventional settlement.
As part of their agreement, Jeff retained the majority of his shares in Amazon, amounting to 75% of the couple’s joint stake in the company, while McKenzie received 25%. This decision was made to maintain the perceived stability of the company and to ensure the interests of the shareholders were protected. In addition, the couple agreed that everyone would be far better off if their divorce did not create any unnecessary disruption to one of the world’s largest companies.
Design Your Divorce Settlement Your Way with Advanced Mediation Solutions
To learn more about how you and your spouse can benefit from divorce mediation, contact Advanced Mediation Solutions today at (856) 669-7172 or reach out to us online. We are here to guide you through this challenging time and help you create a divorce agreement that works for you and your family.
We offer flexible scheduling options and provide both in-person and virtual mediation sessions to accommodate your specific needs. And we are ready to get started when you are.