Will divorce mediation be on the upswing following Covid’s demise?

| Apr 10, 2021 | Mediation

Many prospective divorcing parties in the Tampa area and other parts of Florida understandably have some trepidation concerning the process.

Put another way: They’ve heard stories, and the narrative is sometimes a bit frightening.

They’re hardly alone in feeling unnerved by the idea of taking their marital woes to court and having important life matters decided in an atmosphere cloaked in formality and adversarialism.

Divorce proceedings conducted in a courtroom and under the close scrutiny of a judge have often been likened to combat. One authoritative Florida legal source addressing “traditional” divorce and alternatives to it notes the “horror stories about long, expensive fights” between participants that leave them “exhausted and bitter.” Another in-depth article on that subject matter spotlights the “uncivil wars” that often mark divorce litigation.

That latter piece is a recent Forbes offering spotlighting divorce during the ongoing and unprecedented health pandemic (hopefully soon on a clear downward trajectory).

Family law writer Patricia Fersch makes these fundamental points concerning divorce in the Covid-19 era:

  • Family law courtrooms have shuttered their doors in a major way since “the world essentially stopped sometime in mid-March” last year; and
  • That development has actually proved encouraging for many individuals seeking to secure divorces

Here’s what has happened: Legions of divorcing couples haven been forced to pursue divorce alternatives to court, which has led to a growing appreciation for the convenience and multiple benefits routinely conferred by mediation.

That doesn’t mean that mediation has suddenly emerged as a viable option to court, of course. Many ex-spouses who have invoked the process know and have duly spread the word regarding mediation’s many pluses. Those include enhanced convenience, savings in time and money, greater autonomy over scheduling and outcomes, a marked civility compared with court-overseen processes and more.

Fersch concedes that these upsides have long been apparent. She stresses that it is likely the case now, though, that many more post-pandemic divorces will follow a mediated path or other alternative dispute resolution route (e.g., collaborative divorce or private judging).

A proven and client-empathetic family law legal team with deep mediation experience can help a client explore the possibilities.