Divorce mediator explains the benefits of mediation instead of litigation

Family and divorce mediator Melissa Dolphin-Rowland explains the benefits of using mediation instead of litigation in the process of divorce or separation. Photo: Sarah Koning


Divorce and separation can very often be the source of much anxiety, pain and disruption in the life of couples and their children due to the tense, expensive and time-consuming litigation processes.

Family and divorce mediation can provide a more fair and cost-effective solution to this dilemma.

Sandton Chronicle spoke with experienced family and divorce mediator Melissa Dolphin-Rowland to hear about this less-popularised alternative. “Mediation assists people to move forward more effectively with less hurt and emotional turmoil than with litigation,” she said.

Simply-put, divorce mediation provides an alternative to litigation aimed at resolving disputes of couples who want to separate or divorce in a way that empowers participants to reach a fair agreement for parenting plans, maintenance and division of assets and liabilities.

The parties, who desire to separate, meet with a mediator to create agreements in a manner that involves communication between conflicting parties in the best interests of one another and their children, if they have any.

The mediator functions as an outsider who guides and facilitates the process of deciding on a parenting plan and division of assets, empowering people to be in more control of their future.

Dolphin-Rowland believes that mediation is a more holistic process which can include involvement from mediators, attorneys, psychologists, social workers or financial advisors. She also believes that the process is more child-centered since mediators refer children to a social worker or psychologist whose ‘voice of the child’ interview will be fed back into the mediation process.

Other than cases involving abuse, domestic violence or instances of major power imbalances, Dolphin-Rowland recommends mediation because she believes that it saves money and time, improves communication and the chances of successful co-parenting and reduces the emotional trauma to the children involved.

“Who else is better placed to construct a family’s future than the family itself? Empowerment is synonymous with taking responsibility and this is what the mediation process encourages and enables parties to do,” said Dolphin-Rowland.

Details: If you are interested in using a mediator, visit www.saam.org.za to find an accredited mediator near you.


Talk to us by emailing our editor, Ashtyn Mackenzie, at [email protected]

Sarah Koning

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