What is Marital Mediation?
Marital mediation, or marriage mediation, is a process in which a specially trained mediator works with a couple to help identify problems in their marriage that are causing significant distress and leading the couple toward divorce. With the intervention of a qualified marital mediator, many issues can be resolved and steps put in place to keep the marriage together. Unlike Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce which are no-court methods for ending a marriage, marital mediation is about preserving a marriage and enhancing the lives of the spouses in the process.
In addition, marital mediation educates couples on the realities of what they can expect if things do not work out and they need to pursue a divorce. This can enhance their commitment to the process.
Marital mediation is a confidential, non judgmental process, ideal for those who want to make their marriages work but are not sure how.
How is Marital Mediation Different from Therapy?
Marital mediation addresses everyday problems which, if ignored, can slowly but surely erode a relationship and ultimately a marriage. It is different than therapy because it focuses on practical solutions rather than assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Therapy tends to be about feelings and talking things out. Marital mediation is about identifying problems, jointly formulating solutions, committing, and taking action to resolve the problems. Commitment can sometimes be in a written form such as a postnuptial agreement which is discussed below.
Moreover, marital mediators often have experience in financial matters that can be an enormous source of discord in a marriage. An experienced mediator can examine financial information and facilitate discussion on key issues.
Some marital mediators are also attorneys. So, depending on the areas of legal expertise, the mediator can explain the law when necessary as it relates to an issue being worked through by the couple.
Marital mediation is a viable alternative for couples who realize their marriage is in jeopardy and want help but one or both spouses are reluctant to commit to traditional therapy.
Types of Issues Addressed through Marital Mediation
A wide variety of issues can be effectively addressed through marital mediation. As one might guess, financial issues tend to be at the top of the list.
- Income generation, job loss
- Spending habits
- Home foreclosure
- Business failure
- Lack of full disclosure
- Job demands
- Lack of communication
- Lack of trust
- Lack of intimacy
- Anger issues
- Career change
- In laws
- Toxic friendships/acquaintances
This is by no means an exhaustive list but it does convey the diversity of issues that can be effectively dealt with through marital mediation. Left unaddressed, these types of issues can cause substantial conflict and negatively affect a relationship on many levels.
How does Marital Mediation Work?
A trained marital mediator works with a couple to help identify problems in their marriage that are causing the distress. Faulty communication, defensiveness, and misunderstandings are examples of root causes that couples themselves often cannot see or solve on their own. A problem can be reframed as a mutual problem to be solved together, and not the fault of one spouse or the other.
In marital mediation, a couple can learn to identify and lessen disruptive behaviors and communication styles that can result in the preservation of their marriage. Divorce becomes an option of last resort rather than first resort for couples in unresolved conflict.
What is a Postnuptial Agreement?
A postnuptial agreement is a written agreement executed or made official between spouses while they are married. (As opposed to a prenuptial agreement which is executed before a couple gets married.)
A postnuptial agreement is often reached in marital mediation giving the couple a working agreement that can be upheld by the parties if duly executed. Many couples find relief in the terms negotiated in the marital mediation process and as a result have more security for their marriage going forward.