British Columbia encourages divorcing couples to seek mediation

Divorce mediation is becoming more popular in British Columbia as a result of cost benefits and recently passed legislation.

Recent law offers incentives for out-of-court divorce options for families

In 2013, the provincial government passed the Family Law Act, a piece of legislation that was designed, at least in part, to encourage families to seek out-of-court methods for resolving their divorce cases, according to the Vancouver Sun. The legislation is part of a broader effort to get couples to opt for divorce mediation, which tends to be cheaper and less traumatic for families than taking a divorce case to court. Mediation has grown considerably in popularity in recent years and understanding its benefits – and its potential drawbacks – can help families make more informed decisions about how best to proceed with their own divorce cases.

Saving money

Arguably, the most commonly cited reason for opting for mediation is that mediation tends to be substantially cheaper than going to court. A one-week trial can cost tens of thousands of dollars and you may have to wait two years for the court date.

Of course, legal fees themselves are only part of the financial picture when it comes to divorce. Because mediation discourages a ‘winner-takes-all’ attitude that a high-conflict divorce can encourage, both former spouses are more likely to come to an agreement regarding property that feels fair when they negotiate their own settlement. By going to court, marital property division is left in the hands of a judge who may not fully appreciate the nuances of each party’s financial position.

Reducing trauma

Along with the financial benefits, mediation is also often emotionally easier on all parties involved. Because each party is in control of what shape the final settlement will take, there tends to be less of a feeling of helplessness that a court-ordered settlement can engender. Additionally, as Metro News points out, when parents are forced to sit down and work out their differences then children are protected from what could otherwise have turned into a traumatic, high-conflict divorce.

That said, mediation does not work for everyone. In cases where one party has been the victim of emotional or physical abuse by the other party then it is almost impossible to create the safe and respectful environment that mediation needs in order to succeed. Additionally, mediation will be difficult in any situation where both parties do not feel like equals or do not trust one another sufficiently in order to negotiate in good faith.

Family law

For divorce mediation to work, it is also imperative that families find a mediator with a proven track record of success. An experienced family law mediator can provide divorcing spouses with the guidance and support they need in order to work through their differences and come to a fair and satisfactory resolution.