Forcing couples to use divorce mediation?
Well not quite – the new rules coming out in April will make it necessary for divorcing couples seeking legal aid to try mediation before court, and all couples who are unable to sort out their divorce on their own, will be expected to attend mediation consultation sessions at least so they understand how it can help them.
I encourage all visitors to Starting Over from divorce Road Shows to talk directly to mediators and to find out what they actually do (some people think they are supposed to get you back together!). If a couple make a deal with or without mediation they can move on with their lives. If a judge tells them what to do, there is resentment and the game goes on, often with further court appearances using the children as weapons.
I see mediation – especially if it can also be combined with learning communication skills, life coaching and specialist financial advice – to be a great tool for not only getting divorced with less ultimate pain and financial cost, but for being able to move on with your life. It seems to me that court battles tend to result in more court battles, fueled by resentment and anger binding that divorced couple together in a very unhealthy way for many years to come.
Media reports on the announcement: