When parties opt to litigate their divorce, that is, when parties use the adversarial court system, they will invariably be asking a judge to make certain decisions for them. Generally, those judicial decisions are borne of a failure of the parties to make their own decisions themselves. Litigation exhaustion and the incentive a party might have to get his/her “way” factor into why some would rather leave the choice up to a stranger in a long, black robe rather than trying to collaborate and compromise.
But no matter how nice a judge may look, that person is a total stranger to the parties. That judge does not have the luxury of time–and I would argue, the interest–in getting to know a case so intimately that he/she come to the “best” decision. This is not to say that the result isn’t “fair;” it likely is. However, when parties hand over their autonomy in the process, they expose themselves to the greatest inherent flaw in the judicial system: not having all the information.
The people who do have all the information are the parties. And when those two people enter into mediation, they are the ones to decide, they are the ones with the autonomy, they are the ones with the ultimate authority to govern the result.
Mediation is the place where empowerment is not only found but encouraged and at Holistic Mediation we honor this attribute.