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3 different approaches to mediation

Every divorce is different. Each involves different people who have unique goals, priorities and fears that will have an impact on the approach and trajectory of the divorce process. As such, it is important to understand that there are different ways to resolve divorce-related matters.

Broadly, this means options like litigation, mediation or arbitration. However, even within these different types of divorces, there are varying strategies and solutions. For instance, if you opt for mediation, there are different types of mediation to consider.

What is mediation in the first place?

Backing up a little, we should explain that mediation is a form of dispute resolution. In the context of divorce, it means that parties work together with a mediator outside of court to reach decisions on issues ranging from child custody to property division. It allows parties to stay out of court and have more control over the outcome.

What are the different styles?

Under this umbrella of mediation, though, there are different styles. Generally, the styles vary based on the type of mediator parties select. Below, we explain three common types you might consider.

  1. Facilitative mediation is traditional mediation; it involves a neutral mediator who does not make any decisions or recommendations to parties. Instead, this person facilitates communication and negotiation in the interest of helping parties reach their own agreements. 
  2. Evaluative mediation involves a more active mediator who is often an attorney. This person will often offer recommendations, suggestions and opinions. He or she can evaluate the legal merits of each party's argument and the fairness of proposed solutions. 
  3. Transformative mediation is a more comprehensive approach to divorcing. Rather than focusing strictly on divorce-related issues and solutions, mediators utilizing this approach help parties understand more about their needs and interests, as well as the other person's needs and interests. The goal is for parties to develop skills and understanding that allows them to transform their relationship.

As you can see, the type of mediator can have a considerable impact on the process and outcome of mediating a divorce. Therefore, it is important to think carefully about what you hope to accomplish if you mediate your divorce. And remember that you can have your own legal counsel throughout the divorce process, no matter which type of mediation you pursue.

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