"We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope" – Martin Luther King Jnr
Divorce mediation is a constructive, non-adversarial process in which an impartial third party (a trained mediator) assists the involved parties in reaching an informed, mutually agreed-upon settlement.
Although this option of dispute resolution in the context of divorce and other family law matters has been globally available for many years, it has only in more recent years become increasingly popular in South Africa.
One of the main benefits of divorce mediation is that the divorcing couple retains control over the process and decision-making. The couple is actively involved and in charge of the process and it is often less expensive and takes less time than the traditional adversarial divorce. However, it is important to realise that for the process to be successful, both parties must be committed to seeking a divorce and approaching the process in an amicable, non-acrimonious manner.
Similarly, conflict about a matter involving children can also be approached via the mediation process. In fact, the Children’s Act 38 of 2005 prescribes that mediation should be the first approach before parties run off to court.
Mediation is informal, empowering, and progressive. The process encourages teamwork to resolve disputes, and a spirit of cooperation that can set the stage for amicable attitudes and civility in the future, often for the sake of the children. The process is also less expensive than acrimonious divorce litigation, it takes less time, and it is less emotionally damaging to families.