Nasty divorces make for fine television drama but don’t always reflect the needs and wants of the couple. Sometimes you fall out of love and there is general agreement that it’s time to call it a day. Perhaps it got a little rocky but both of you still understand that the emotional and financial impact of a messy divorce wasn’t something either of you want. Sometimes, however, the behavior of a spouse leaves you no choice but to go to court.

But Iowa is a state filled with people who pride themselves on adhering to an honest and sensible approach to life. This means that a couple may explore the option of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). Mediation in situations of divorce is a common form of ADR. Instead of a courtroom and a judge, it features a neutral third party attorney working toward a common goal. 

Typically each side will have their own attorney to ensure the best interests of their clients are protected even in this less confrontational setting. It has several benefits:

  • It’s constructive: The idea of mediation is that the parties understand that they need to find an equitable middle ground and work towards that.
  • It’s less expensive: Litigious court battles can be long and drawn out and cost thousands of dollars. This money may otherwise be used to support a family that now has an additional home that it needs to pay for.
  • It’s easier on the family: Messy battles where kids are caught in the middle can leave a permanent mark on them. According to family therapists, kids are better off if the divorce doesn’t uproot their lives more than it needs to.
  • It sets the tone: While the couple may no longer be married, they continue to share the responsibility of raising a family. This fair and equitable approach provides a good working foundation for moving forward in a positive way. If there is need for modification as circumstances change, the agreement can be modified with this same constructive approach.

Sometimes negotiations do break down and couples are left with court as the alternative. But even then, many of the issues may have been worked out ahead of time, leaving the courts to decide major sticking points. Initial consultation is a great time to speak with an attorney about their thoughts on your case and whether this approach is the best for you.