When two spouses decide to mediate their divorce, they've usually made the right decision. When mediation works for two spouses who are willing to communicate, cooperate and compromise, the process will save them time, money and stress.
There are, however, an array of mediation solutions that the couple will have to choose from. Here are three of the most common types of divorce mediation that might apply to a couple depending on their circumstances and needs.
1. Facilitative mediation
Forty years ago, couples only had one kind of mediation to choose from. This mediation is currently referred to as facilitative mediation and it works something like this: A mediator will serve as a neutral third party to help the spouses communicate with one another. The mediator will also ask questions to both sides, seeking to validate and normalize both points of view to ensure that one more dominant side doesn't take over and leave the other side feeling like his or her opinion has not been heard.
Aside from supporting peaceful and diplomatic communication, the facilitative mediator does not try to steer the end result of the mediation, but leaves it up to the spouses to agree or disagree with any offer put on the table. The facilitative mediator will hold meetings where all parties are present, but also break out into private sessions with each side separately.
2. Evaluative mediation
Evaluative mediators are like facilitative mediators except for a very important distinction. They offer the parties their input and opinion about how a judge would likely decide a given circumstance. In this sense, the evaluative mediator gives insight into fairness and the law to help the parties come to a mutually-agreed solution that reflects the reality of the case.
3. Transformative mediation
The transformative mediation process seeks to aid both parties to recognize the other spouse's interests, needs, values and viewpoints. In this process, by helping the spouses stand in the other spouse's shoes, each side of the dispute is ultimately transformed.
Is mediation right for you and your spouse?
Mediation will not work for all spouses. If two spouses have a difficult time reaching agreement or cannot stop fighting, it's doubtful that any mediation process will be more than a waste of time. However, if the spouses are willing to try to work together toward a solution, mediation could be an excellent way to save time and money during a marital breakup.