Divorce mediation is an option that allows spouses to go through the divorce process in private. It provides them with the guidance of a professional mediator to assist in any issues that may arise. In Connecticut, there are two kinds of private mediation: interest-based or facilitative mediation, which is the most commonly used method, and evaluative mediation.
Facilitative and evaluative mediation
Think of these processes like couple’s therapy. The spouses talk, and the professional mediator is the therapist that listens and intervenes when necessary. However, with private mediation, the objective of the mediator is not a peaceful reconciliation but rather a clean separation. Facilitative and evaluative mediation share the same goals:
- Stay out of court
- Reach an agreement where both spouses are satisfied
The significant difference between the processes is the role of the mediator. In facilitative mediation, the mediator simply provides an open forum where the parties can declare their interests in matters such as child custody, support, visitation, alimony and property division. They then facilitate an agreement without providing judgment or assessment.
In evaluative mediation, the mediator objectively listens to the divorcing spouses with the intent to evaluate their statements. After their professional and unbiased evaluation of each party’s interests, they provide their calculated opinion and feedback. They play a more active role in reaching an agreement.
Why is facilitative divorce more popular?
The facilitative method is most often used in Connecticut because the mediator is not entitled to their opinions in matters of dispute, so there is no potential for bias or feelings of inequality. Only the divorcing parties have control over the outcome of the mediation. It takes a very skilled mediator to advise without passing judgment.