Divorce mediation is a better alternative to court divorce. For most people, litigated divorce is the most traumatic experience of their and their children’s lives. Well-meaning people–legislators, judges and lawyers–have created a system that brings out the worst in spouses going through a divorce. Court divorce exposes spouses and their children to unnecessary conflict, uncertainty, delays, stress, and expense, made even worse by the brutal and crippling court budget cuts of 2013. Family court judges are grappling with the puzzle of how to get divorcing spouses to be decent with each other and to minimize the divorce conflict that scares and traumatizes children. But you can’t order people to be decent human beings. However, people can choose to be decent with each other, and mediation is what happens when divorcing spouses make that choice.
In mediation, spouses resolve disputed issues regarding children, property, and support by working with a neutral mediator. With a JD from UCLA School of Law and an MA in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, divorce mediator Alik Segal is uniquely qualified to help couples resolve all legal, financial and emotional issues to dissolve a marriage or domestic partnership.
Studies show that mediated divorce does not favor men or women, custodial or noncustodial parents, high or low earners. When people fight in court to express their anger they gain nothing. The outcomes are the same in terms of property split, income division or parenting share and arrangements. But mediated divorce does lower the trauma and cost of the process for both parents and for their children. Without the expectation and pressure to attack each other imposed on divorcing spouses by the court system, the mediated divorce allows people to be decent with each other.
In addition, because a mediated divorce resolves existing emotional issues and does not create new ones, the former spouses are less likely to come back to court after the divorce to fight over the same old ground.
Concerning issues related to children, any victory is temporary. A month or a year later, the bitter loser can return seeking revenge, or as it is known in family court, “changed circumstances.” The orders made by parties in mediation last on the average longer than the orders made by a judge in a court room. Leaving the decision up to the judge always produces a winner and a loser, and “Hell hath no fury” like a bitter family court loser.