DIVORCE MEDIATION

It is hard communicating and negotiating on important matters like children and finances whilst you have friends and family with various opinions as well. If the break up also involves a divorce, it can be overwhelming and tough to understand the divorce process especially within the South African legal system. Having built a life together there are many emotional and practical issues to be resolved including arrangements for children, division of assets, where you will live and what and how you will tell friends and family to only name a few.

 

We help you identify your options whilst supporting you through the process of change and into your new life by providing a range of specialist divorce mediation and support services wherever you are in this process to help you and your family manage and take control of this period as smoothly as is possible.

Educate, Empower, and Enable

The mediation alternative, in contrast to litigation, which involves the hiring of a netural third party whose function is to educate, empower, and enable the couple to negotiate their differences to a settled agreement, is one which is less likely to have a negative psychological impact on the divorcing couple.

How Mediation Can Help You

  1. Agreement in areas of conflict resulting from separation, divorce or other related family issues
  2. Equal and impartial assistance with interim or final parenting plans
  3. Creating a supportive and unbiased environment
  4. Help couples to communicate opportunities for effective co-parenting
  5. Spouses communicate effectively in a high-conflict environment
  6. With providing an independent third party to resolve disputes

What does the DGAP mediation process involve?

DECODE

Your first meeting is an introductory meeting to understand the roles of the parties, the process of mediation and to determine the agenda for mediation. This meeting is to collect and analyse information and to determine the most effective mediation strategy. Parties will agree to a divorce mission statement and commit to common ground rules of engagement.

DEBATE

Parties will then set out in a series of a few collaborative or individual (side meetings) meetings with the mediator to begin generating constructive alternatives which might contribute to final settlement. It is a creative brain storming solution orientated and negotiating process of problem solving.

DESIGN

Once agreement is reached, the mediator will draft a final settlement agreement and parenting plan and assist the parties to identify appropriate procedural steps to put the agreement into action and formalise the settlement.

DONE

Should any future mediation be needed; the mediator is always available for follow up meetings for objective unbiased third party conversations. Note that we can also help settle short term disputes relating to contact or interim arrangements.

Differences between litigation and mediation

The most basic difference is that litigation is filled with emotional rancor, allegations, distortions of personalities and of life events, and an intents bitterness which serves to enhance the acrimony between the parent’s ant to create what current research demonstrates is the single most destructive influence on children of divorce – parental conflict. Maintaining and protecting your relationship with your future ex, is the single best thing you can do in a divorce, to put your children’s needs first.

Lawyer Driven Divorce (Adversarial)Mediation (Less Confrontational)
CostExtremely costly, especially if the divorce ends up in litigationAffordable
Time18 months – 3 years or more2 – 6 months on average
Emotional CapitalA lawyer-driven divorce, especially litigation, is an adversarial process and not peaceful in any way.

 

The mediation process is non-adversarial and cooperative so it’s more peaceful to work with a mediator vs lawyer divorce which is often confrontational and hostile.

 

Holistic Approach to your wellbeingOften just touch on the basics needed to sign off a settlementIt is a more comprehensive and holistic parenting plan that will assist to lesson conflict in future
Professionals Involved2 lawyers1 mediator
OutcomeA lawyer can only represent one party and their job is to advocate or “fight” for their one client. Even if it’s at the detriment of the other party or the couple’s childrenA mediator is a neutral third party and doesn’t take sides – in the divorce mediation process, they help both spouses reach an agreement best for them and their children
AdviceLawyers often tell clients what to doMediators help to empower clients to decide what to do themselves
RiskA lawyer-driven divorce has no guarantees as you are at the mercy of a judge and the court.

The reality is that the law is at best a canonization of public policy statements by the legislature of the appellate courts, made as generalizations which cannot anticipate the specific application to the unique circumstances of each individuals marriage.

Some lawyers use strategies to confuse, manipulate or outsmart the opposition. Every lawyer has their own approach but some family law attorneys can be deceptive and use moral tactics that is not necessarily rational. Remember that you know your situation, family and children better than any lawyer so it is best to be part of the decision making.

If your case goes to trial and the judge makes their decision, you could find that you’re not satisfied with the ruling in your divorce case

 

ConfidentialityMatter of public recordPrivate and confidential

The major psychological consequence of a mediated approach is the empowerment of the parties.  Control which would ordinarily be surrendered in the litigation process is returned to the clients.  The ability of the parties to respect each other for the manner in which they are negotiating can become significant cornerstone for their ongoing relationship.

The most basic difference is that litigation is filled with emotional rancor, allegations, distortions of personalities and of life events, and an intents bitterness which serves to enhance the acrimony between the parent’s ant to create what current research demonstrates is the single most destructive influence on children of divorce – parental conflict. Maintaining and protecting your relationship with your future ex, is the single best thing you can do in a divorce, to put your children’s needs first.

Download our comparison table below