Three Reasons to Divorce Using Integrative Mediation
A newer model that may just have exactly what you need.
Posted March 20, 2019
Many of you reading this post may be familiar with litigation and mediation. Some of you may also have heard of collaborative divorce. But I'm guessing few of you have heard of Integrative Mediation because it hasn't been around that long.
What Is Integrative Mediation and Why Should We Choose It?
Integrative Mediation (IM) is a newer divorce modality that uses two or three divorce professionals—often a lawyer, a financial expert and a mental health specialist.
There are three reasons I like this model: 1. It is coordinated; 2. It seeks common ground and common good; 3. It is versatile.
In a typical divorce, most people will use two or three different professionals anyway, but they will all work in their own orbit with little or no coordination. This increases the chances for two kinds of mistakes: Two people will be working on a matter that only one person needed to handle*, or worse, something important will fall through the cracks because each professional thought the other would handle it. *That means a party might pay twice as much as they needed to for a service.
Common Ground/Common Good
The court system is, by nature, adversarial. Mediating professionals, however, are neutral. The court system usually produces a “winner” and a “loser” when all is said and done. Integrative mediators work hard to find as many win-win resolutions as possible. The truth is, in a divorce, people don’t often feel good about an outcome, but a less-known fact is that you can certainly find less bad outcomes.
With all of the professionals in an Integrative Mediation case understanding the goals of the case, chances increase exponentially that the outcome will be one everyone feels good about.
Unlike any other divorce modality, Integrative Mediation allows people to choose which professionals they’d like on the case. Perhaps they want an attorney and financial specialist because they have several investments or one owns a business. Or maybe there are children with special needs in which case the ideal team is a therapist-mediator and attorney. Or, there may be cases where all three professionals are needed in which case, they can all be involved together. It is much more of an a la carte process that can be tailored to the needs of each couple.
Another way that mediation, in general, is more versatile than the other modalities, is that it’s generally easier to move from meditation into something more formal like litigation or collaborative than it is to move from litigation or collaborative into mediation.
If you can imagine each process as a web, mediation (usually) has the least amount of entanglements. Obviously, if you have a more complicated set of circumstances in your dissolution, that creates a bigger web but process-wise, mediation is the simplest way to go.
People lean toward mediation because they believe it will save them money. In general, the single mediation model can cost less. Integrative Mediation (IM) may seem to go against this benefit because you’re hiring two or three professionals to help with the divorce process, however, as I mentioned earlier, when people are divorcing, they end up hiring several professionals who end up working in isolation. IM truly can be a time, money and general resource-saver.
How to Find (Or Create) an IM Team
If you’re interested in finding an Integrative Mediation team in your area, do a Google search for Integrative Mediation or co-mediation. If you can’t find resources that way, contact a local mediator and ask them if they would consider coordinating with another professional (and perhaps show them this post). If you have a local collaborative group, there may be professionals in that group who would be willing to work with you doing mediation rather than collaborative (collaborative still has each party hiring their own attorney, although this model does offer neutral financial and mental health specialists).
Divorce is hard enough. By finding the right professionals and the right process, you will exponentially increase your chances of having a better experience. I always recommend that people do a good amount of research before embarking on this challenging personal and legal process.
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