Beyond Divorce: Other Cases When It Makes Sense To Seek Mediation

For many of us, the word “mediation” may seem synonymous with divorce and divorce attorneys. What you may not know is that mediation is not strictly for soon-to-be divorcees. There are several other circumstances when seeking out mediation is very appropriate.

Here is a breakdown of the most popular reasons to use mediation aside from divorce.

Prenuptial Agreements

With the right preparations, meeting with divorce attorneys and seeking out divorce mediation services may not be necessary. Prenuptial agreements establish guidelines for the division of assets and wealth should couples divorce down the line. If the couple ultimately divorces, nearly all conditions are already laid out in the prenuptial agreement. That’s the point, after all.

While, at one time, there was a stigma surrounding prenuptial agreements, that stigma is increasingly becoming a thing of the past. “More than half of lawyers surveyed saw an increase in prenups among millennials [in 2019], and 62% saw a rise in prenups overall from 2013 to 2016,” Business Insider writes. Typically, each party receives separate counsel to ensure understanding and the fairness of the agreement.

While prenups are a valid and often useful way to lay out expectations about finances, they do have some shortcomings. For example, it is illegal for them to dictate child custody agreements or child support payments. If you have children, it remains wise to meet with a divorce attorney.

Never-Married Couples

If you are not married and there will not be a divorce, it may feel like it is not entirely appropriate to meet with a divorce attorney during a tough breakup. The fact remains, however, that more couples are cohabitating than ever before. In fact, in the U.S., 5.5 million unmarried couples live together. These couples need legal recourse in the event of a breakup as well, especially given that cohabitating typically involves shared assets and shared finances. It is especially wise to seek out a mediator if there are children involved.

Just like divorce mediation, mediation for never married couples does not concretely dictate what you or the other party should do or must do. Rather, the mediator works with you to try to come to a mutual agreement and to keep the negotiating process as productive and civil as possible.

Mediation In The Workplace

While introducing mediation into the workplace may initially sound like a fraught and even desperate decision, that is not necessarily the case! In fact, choosing objective legal mediation can be a strategy to effectively and advantageously settle disputes, without risking accusations of maltreatment or favoritism. Inviting an objective third party to weigh in on matters can further instill trust in you as a leader.

Enlist professional mediators to resolve interpersonal conflicts between employees and/or to objectively field employee complaints and grievances. In more severe circumstances, such as accusations of sexual harassment or discrimination, the report should be filed directly through human resources (HR).

Neighborhood Disputes

What is neighborhood mediation? While neighborhood mediation may sound like a nightmarish meeting with the HOA, that is not the reality of the situation. Like all forms of mediation, involving an objective third party aims to keep settlements relatively amicable and low-conflict.

If your property gets damaged during a neighbor’s remodel, for example, a mediator can meet with both of you to determine what a fair solution would be. While your neighbor may not even want to apologize at first, a mediator can help determine fair compensation for the damage incurred. Similar mediation can be used to address disputes between landlords and their tenants.

In the U.S., a couple gets divorced every 13 seconds! While divorce is common, it is far from the only high-conflict relationship or dispute that can occur. Dial it back. Turn high-conflict situations into low-conflicts situations with a reliable and trusted mediator.