Because divorce does not have to equal war by Nicolette Macartney (attorney and mediator)

That terrible “D” word ….the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “divorce” is probably spouses at war, each trying to emerge victorious, nothing and no one is spared, not even their poor children who more often than not become perfect little pawns in the battle to be right.  Or, on the other hand we visualise two spouses who are on great terms with each other and who took the mutual decision to divorce and live in totally harmony afterwards. I salute anyone who is able to get through a divorce with the latter approach. Sadly 90% of divorces are not amicable and does start off or turn into a mini war.
Having said this, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that there is in fact ANOTHER ALTERNATIVE which is relatively new in South Africa but has been practiced for decades in other countries. It is called Divorce & Family Mediation. I don’t want to bore you with legal jargon and for that reason I am going to simplify it as best as I can. For more legal nitty gritty you are welcome to visit our website www.divorce-mediation.co.za.

Think carefully about how you want to approach your divorce, compare it to picking up a bow and arrow, aiming and shooting – once the arrow leaves the bow, it is very hard to change its direction.

Let us do a side by side comparison between a litigated divorce (which means you go to court and fight about everything including the cat and dog) and a mediated divorce/separation.

LITIGATED DIVORCE: Each party is represented by their own attorney which means you are paying the fees of two professionals
MEDIATED DIVORCE: Both parties are assisted by a single impartial professional called a mediator; the mediator has been trained to assist both parties in reaching an agreement. A mediator can be an attorney, a psychologist or social worker who has received additional training in order to qualify as a Divorce & Family Mediator.
LITIGATED DIVORCE: Can run into hundreds of thousands of rands
MEDIATED DIVORCE: Can usually be settled in approximately 5 sessions and is charged at an hourly rate of about R1000 per hour
LITIGATED DIVORCE: Can take years to finalize
MEDIATED DIVORCE:  Is usually finalized within a month or two
LITIGATED DIVORCE: Children are often used as pawns in the divorce
MEDIATED DIVORCE: The best interest of the children are always at the centre of all negotiations and the child’s voice is heard
LITIGATED DIVORCE: Court decides
MEDIATED DIVORCE: You make all the important decisions yourselves
LITIGATED DIVORCE: court oversees every detail
MEDIATED DIVORCE: You can try different options until you find a solution that works best for you and your family
LITIGATED DIVORCE: Traumatic experience for the whole family
MEDIATED DIVORCE: Amicable climate that benefits the whole family
LITIGATED DIVORCE: Personal information becomes public record
MEDIATED DIVORCE: Confidential and private

And that is Divorce Mediation in a nutshell.

I am often asked whether mediation is possible if the two separating spouses don’t get along and my answer is always, absolutely! As long as both spouses are agreeable to the process then the matter can certainly be mediated.
The mediator will provide you with all the information you need in order to come to an agreement that is fair and just.

What can be mediated you may ask? Anything can be mediated if it is of importance to the spouses.

Typically, the following will be dealt with in mediation: Division of assets, maintenance, contact and care of the children, parenting plans, contact with extended family, schooling and emergencies.

Who should attend mediation?
Couples who have made the decision to divorce
• Couples who are divorced but need to re-negotiate issues
• Couples who have lived together and/or have children together
• Family members who are in conflict

For more information please contact nicki@divorce-mediation.co.za

NICOLETTE MACARTNEY
Attorney & Qualified Divorce/Family Mediator
Website : http://www.divorce-mediation.co.za
E-mail : info@divorce-mediation.co.za
Contact number : 082-938-9429

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