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Divorce mediation can set the stage for positive communication

While it is becoming more acceptable in today's society, the divorce process itself still carries a negative stigma among some. Some people in Colorado view the divorce process as purely and unavoidably adversarial. It is a winner-take-all situation, with each party trying to seek revenge on the other. However, divorce doesn't deserve this bad reputation.

First, sometimes people simply grow apart over time. They don't necessarily wish their ex ill-will, they just don't want to be married to them anymore. Moreover, if a couple has children, they may want to try to remain at least cordial with one another, to minimize the stress the split may have on the child. This has the added benefit of allowing the child to grow up with two happy parents, even if their parents aren't married to one another. For these couples, divorce mediation may be preferred to litigation.

Mediation can be useful because a professional mediator can help guide difficult discussions in a manner that is fair, that allows each side to feel heard, and, ultimately, helps the couple work out their differences so they can reach an agreement on their issues. A mediator can paraphrase a person's ideas to make sure that person's intentions and understanding of an issue is appropriate.

A professional mediator can also serve as a good example of how to communicate with one's ex. For example, it is easy for an ex-couple to quarrel or become defensive. A mediator can show couples how to neutralize a conversation or even change negative phrases to positive phrases. Mediators can also provide spouses with validation -- that their emotions, thoughts or ideas have merit.

Finally, through mediation, couples can learn to be empathetic. This allows for constructive conversations since each party feels understood. This can be especially helpful when a couple co-parents after a divorce and will, through necessity, be in communication with one another for many more years.

As this shows, there are many advantages to divorce mediation that are worth exploring. Keep in mind, that even if they decide to mediate their divorce, each spouse can still retain an attorney who can explain the legal issues present in the divorce and can advise the spouse as to their rights.

Source: mediate.com, "Divorce Mediation: A Prototype for Positive Co-Parenting," Oliver Ross, Nov. 2017

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