By Michelle Garneau

Divorce – it is a very difficult time.
You and your spouse have separated. Now what?

Both of you have heard scary stories about divorces that took years to reach an agreement. They can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and worst of all, the kids ended up in the middle.

How can this be done differently?

This is the question I hear from clients time and time again. I understand their concerns and desire not to end up in a long and stressful court process. They are looking for a fresh alternative that is efficient, economical and better for their children.

Divorce mediation can be the answer.

Many times, I have met with parents who have been fighting since their separation and are unable to have constructive conversations or reach any agreements. Both are exhausted and want to give mediation an attempt.

Through mediation, these parents have open and frank conversations about the matters at hand and put aside blaming and making accusations. They come to agreements about activities for their children and figure out parenting time that fits everyone’s schedules – they are working together!

When the parents return to mediation to discuss finances, they are happy to report a remarkable change in their children’s behavior – they fight less with their siblings, their moods have improved, and they listen better.

Their teachers see a difference too, the children are happier and less distracted in class. The parents are more flexible with one another and feel more confident in their abilities to parent. They say that having face-to-face discussions in mediation and giving and receiving immediate feedback, helped to prevent conflict and gave them each a clearer picture of one another’s needs and requests.

Reaching an agreement in a respectful way isn’t only important for parents with young children.

I have met with parents with adult children and grandchildren.

They will both be spending time at a vacation property or celebrating special occasions together with their family in the future. They want these times to be enjoyable for everyone and agree that it is very important to have a civil divorce.

People going through a divorce most often want to get their disputes resolved and reach an agreement as soon as possible to avoid an exhausting and expensive battle.

Divorce mediation offers people the opportunity to resolve issues quicker through discussions and make smart and informed decisions that can clear the road for a fresh start.

This article was published in the Divorce Magazine in the 2019 issue.