Alternative Dispute Resolution may protect children during a divorce

This article looks at why alternative dispute resolutions during divorce can protect children.

Divorce can be painful even in the best of circumstances. However, just because a marriage has come to an end does not mean that former spouses cannot continue to work together to settle important issues, such as those relating to children or to property division, in a calm and mature manner. In such situations, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation, arbitration, and collaborative law, helps keep divorce from heading to the courtroom. These divorce processes are growing in popularity and, for parents, they can offer the major benefit of protecting children from the sight of their parents quarrelling.

How ADR helps children

ADR is a big benefit for children because it helps minimize the impact a divorce has on those children. As the Globe and Mail reports, a litigated divorce can, unfortunately, bring out the worst in people and may force parents who are going through a divorce into feeling combative with one another. Obviously, seeing their parents fight is never good for children.

ADR, on the other hand, shows those children that although their parents may no longer be together, they can still work together in a respectful manner. By continuing to work together, parents can help prevent children from blaming themselves for their parents divorce. Children can also learn valuable lessons by seeing that even when a relationship ends both sides can still be respectful of one another.

Other advantages of ADR

The advantages of ADR also extend beyond protecting children. In fact, as Metro News notes, for many people the main reason for choosing ADR is because it tends to save both time and money. A litigated divorce can cost tens of thousands of dollars, whereas going through ADR tends to cost only a fraction of that amount. Furthermore, because ADR divorce is done on each spouse's terms, it tends to take up a lot less time than a traditional divorce.

That said, it must be pointed out that ADR is not a good fit for everyone, especially those who are coming out of abusive or manipulative relationships. A court can compel a spouse to disclose documents relating to his or her finances, for example, whereas during ADR both spouses will simply have to trust that the other is being honest about his or her assets and liabilities. Also, if the relationship has become so bad that neither side can keep emotions out of the negotiations then going for the more traditional route may be the better option.

Divorce law

A family law lawyer can help anybody who is considering or already going through a divorce. Whether that person is considering ADR or looking into a litigated divorce, an experienced lawyer can clarify what the different options are and which one may be best for that individual's unique circumstances.