Does mediation achieve more satisfactory, longer lasting outcomes than other dispute resolution processes? Research points to the fact that 2/3 of cases that start mediation reach agreement. How do you measure positive outcomes?
In the 2014 research document ‘Mapping Paths to Family Justice’ researchers found that mediation achieved higher resolution rates than solicitor negotiation – on children’s matters 55% resolved their children’s disputes and 71% resolved their financial disputes.
However, this isn’t the end of the story. The recommendation from the judiciary to consider mediation before Court comes from substantial evidence that parties who resolve their issues themselves, rather than decisions being imposed on them, are more likely to adhere to agreements and for longer. Retaining control of the process is a key benefit to mediation, after all you know your situation better than any Judge and you are the ones who are going to have to implement whatever agreement is reached.
But there are also other ‘fringe benefits’ of mediation. Mediation can often enhance an ex-couple’s ability to negotiate and co-operate in the future, especially concerning parenting decisions. Researchers found that mediation was seen as improving communication in about 40% of cases. Partial outcomes in mediation also bring positive benefits, such as narrowing the issues or reducing conflict levels, make agreement more likely in whatever process the parties pursue post mediation.
Family mediation offers ex partners a chance to find long term solutions that benefit the family as a whole. Parties retain control of the decision making process to reach mutually acceptable proposals in a way that improves their communication, rather than driving them further apart.