When you're going through divorce, it's natural to feel angry or resentful toward your ex. A divorce can intensify these feelings. In court, each party argues over every detail and tries to convince a court that it is right and the other side is wrong. Even when the two sides negotiate a settlement out of court, each side has incentives to fight harder for every issue.
This dynamic can lead to some really unpleasant and unhealthy scenes, especially when the couple has young children. Many parents try to shelter their children from the worst of it, but kids can pick up on the ugliness of a divorce. Those feelings can linger, and can harm the children's relationships with both parents. And of course, lingering bitterness and resentments can harm the parents' ability to work with each other in the future on child custody, visitation, child support and the day-to-day aspects of parenting.
To tone down the conflict, many people choose to go through alternative dispute resolution rather than traditional divorce litigation. Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is an umbrella term for techniques such as mediation and arbitration, in which the parties resolve their dispute outside of the courtroom, with the help of a neutral third party.
Arbitration can be helpful in many cases, but mediation is widely regarded as the most effective way of reducing animosity in a divorce. Rather than deciding the case, a mediator serves as a neutral third party who facilitates the discussion so that the parties can reach their own settlement. Each party is represented by their own attorney, but the emphasis is on reaching a mutually acceptable agreement, not on winning at all costs.
The skills that lead to success in mediation are different in some ways from the skills that lead to success in litigation. At the law office of Mary Kay Kramer, PC, our attorneys have skills in alternative dispute resolution and are always ready to take a case to trial if that is the best way to get better results for our clients.