Grey divorce is never easy.
Usually, it is preceded by decades of a life built together. Now, you need to work out how you’re going to divide your assets and go your separate ways. With grey divorce becoming more and more common, many separating retirees want to make their split as stress-free and swift as possible.
One of the ways you can do this is by choosing mediation to resolve issues after separation. The mediation process can help to save time and money which, when it comes to people heading into their later years, is all the more important.
Here are just a few of the benefits of mediation for grey divorce, outlined by accredited family mediator Ian Shann, of Move On Mediation in Perth.
In grey divorces, the last thing anyone wants is for the divorce process to drag on for months or even years, prolonging the agony and stress for both. Compared with the other alternative of going through the Family Court, mediation is a quicker option by far.
Unlike the Court process, where family lawyers fight tooth and nail for their own clients, mediators do not take sides and are required to remain impartial at all times. They may offer legal guidance to both parties, informing them of their rights and obligations and coming up solutions that both parties can decide on and live with.
The time taken to reach the final settlement depends entirely on the parties involved and how quickly they wish to resolve their matters.
Being the quicker method, divorcing through mediation also saves everyone a lot of money. As opposed to processing separation through the Court, where each party has to hire and pay their own lawyers, in mediation both parties can choose to share the costs of one mediator.
Some family mediators will provide a fixed fee at the beginning of the process, so both parties know upfront exactly what they’re in for, avoiding nasty legal bills.
Separation and divorce can be a traumatic affair for anyone, but for the elderly, it can have devastating effects. A large number of grey divorces come after a decades-long marriage, during one of the most vulnerable stage of their lives. As there may be a bigger asset pool to split up, it becomes an even more complicated and stressful period at a time the involved parties need this kind of stress the least.
Mediators are trained to minimise stress as far as possible, keeping emotions in check and concentrating on finding solutions. Australian Family Law applies the no-fault rule, which means that mediators are not interested in who is to blame for the breakdown of the relationship, making the process more amicable than going through the Courts.
By keeping emotions under control mediators encourage both parties not to make unreasonable demands, but to negotiate practically and realistically, towards reaching a mutually agreed settlement.
Unlike a Court procedure where a lawyer speaks to the Judge on your behalf, and you have absolutely no control, in mediation you get to speak directly to the mediator and say exactly what you want to say in your own words.
Instead of a Judge making the final ruling – which may not be to anyone’s liking – in mediation you both get to resolve all issues and reach your own settlement that suits your unique set of circumstances.
In mediation, you are unlikely to be put under pressure to accept an agreement you are not comfortable with. You can take as much time as you want and obtain a second opinion from your own lawyer before you make any decision. You may even have your lawyer or a close relative or friend present at the mediation.
You remain in control throughout the process; which has to be one of the best benefits of choosing mediation.
As a grey divorcee, you probably want to close this chapter of your life and look forward to starting a new one for your twilight years. By choosing mediation for your grey divorce you can reach a mutually agreed settlement where there are no winners and no losers.
Eliminating the disappointment and minimising the level of stress and tension between the spouses paves the way for an amicable post-divorce existence, allowing both parties to move on with the rest of their lives.
So if you’re going through a grey divorce, know that you certainly aren’t alone. According to a 2021 article by Money Mag, 27 per cent of divorce petitions are for those who have been married for 20 years or longer. And if you want to ensure that your grey divorce goes smoothly, mediation could be the best way forward for you.