Recent studies have shown that the majority of separating couples go to the court to settle their disputes, rather than settling the separation through mediation.
Mediation is a tried, proven and trusted method of dispute resolution, and has less of a psychological impact for those involved in a separation between parents. This means that children are more likely to benefit from a mediated separation rather than a dispute that goes to court.
Why do parents choose the option of going to court when the process is more lengthy and more costly than settling the dispute through resolution? The answer usually lies with the fact that cases of separation are adversarial in nature. Both parents are seeking a set of outcomes that only one party to the case would be satisfied with, and neither is willing to capitulate.
The culture surrounding divorces and separation needs to be changed if there is any progress to be made. Parents need to identify the holistic benefits of mediation, and that the separation affects their children more than it affects them. By going through the process of dispute resolution, with the assistance of a mediation attorney, they can both think about the futures of their children. Additionally, any decisions made by both parents in a mediated case are more likely to be followed through by both parents.
In the long term, there needs to be more government support for projects and initiatives that encourage mediation between separating couples, and that the courts will also benefit from an institutionalised process of mediation.