There are so many reasons to end a marriage through the mediation or Collaborative process, rather than resorting to litigation and traditional legal representation. For example, the opportunity to create a positive and supportive co-parenting relationship for the benefit of children and parents, minimizing conflict so that children (and parents) can survive a divorce with little, or at least much less, emotional trauma, reducing legal fees and other divorce costs so that there are more assets available for the divorcing spouses and their children, the opportunity to craft a creative settlement that meets the needs of all concerned. The list is truly endless.
But there is another reason not generally highlighted by those who advocate alternative dispute resolution processes. And that is the satisfaction that one derives from being the master of one’s own destiny. Who is really the best person to make vitally important decisions about your family? Lawyers whom you have probably just met and a judge that you never really get to talk to, and who never gets to hear what really matters to you? In my experience, the best people to make these decisions are those whose lives will be impacted. With the right support, most people who are willing to express their own needs, to hear and understand what is important to the other, and are willing to address the others’ needs as well as their own, can do much better than courts.
It is enormously empowering to solve these problems together, and be able to say “We don’t need the government, we don’t need the courts, we don’t need the system to solve our problems. We can do it ourselves.”