Advantages of Mediation in Divorce and Custody Cases

Some advantages of mediation, compared to the traditional adversarial court process:

  • Generally high success rate:
    • Over 70% of the people reach agreement on some or all issues when mediating divorce or custody cases. (This has been the experience in the Sixth Judicial District of Iowa, Polk County Iowa, and the courts in Douglas County Nebraska over the last 10 or more years.)
  • Better results: You make the decisions.
  • In mediation you can express all your opinions about the issues and what you want.
  • You have more control over the outcome.
  • Faster, less time-consuming.
    • You don’t have to wait for a trial date.
    • If you reach an agreement that you both sign, it will be presented to a judge who will read it and can adopt it as the court’s decision.
    • Before a final agreement is presented to the court, you are encouraged to think it over, discuss it with family and friends and with your attorney.
    • Often, after talking with others, people come back to mediation to make changes before reaching a final agreement acceptable to both.
  • Mediation may be less expensive, especially if you don’t need to go to court.
    • If you reach agreement on some issues and go to court for decisions on the rest, your costs for going to court will be probably be lower than if the court made all your decisions.
  • Your communication can improve from going to mediation.
  • The other person will hear your concerns, and you will hear theirs.
  • You can ask questions and will probably hear something you don’t already know.
  • You gain a greater understanding of each other and your situation.
  • Mediation may be less emotionally stressful than going to court.
  • You know best what will work for you and what will make a difference in your situation.
  • Mediation can result in fewer court hearings in the future.

These advantages are based on research and experience from other judicial districts and other jurisdictions, and on what we have observed statistically and anecdotally in this judicial district.

Mediation: It’s your solution.