Divorcing military couples often use mediation or arbitration to find a divorce settlement that works. This might surprise you. But consider that military officers, even in conflict situations, need negotiation and communication skills to do their jobs. Negotiation as a last resort is not always a good plan.
Military divorces can be much more complicated than civilian divorces. It usually turns out that mediation or arbitration is better able to sort through knotty issues than the other less thoughtful ways couples split up.
For decades, Virginia sees nothing “alternative” about ADR
Mediation and arbitration are both types of so-called “Alternative Dispute Resolution” (ADR). Courts in some states have the power to order couples into ADR. In many jurisdictions, ADR is overwhelmingly the most common method of getting to a divorce settlement.
Virginia’s own Dispute Resolution Service division has roots going back at least 35 years. Today, an intense battle before a judge in divorce court is the actual “alternative” method.
ADR may help decrease stress and improve privacy
ADR generally keeps the details of divorce out of the public court records, and many couples appreciate that privacy. Military personnel with security clearances may have more complicated worries that a vengeful spouse might try to undermine their clearance.
But couples overwhelmingly report that ADR is less stressful and helps reduce the role of anger and revenge when finding a divorce settlement.
From the start, both sides communicate with the help of professionals who have experience in both ADR and military life. This gives everyone useful information to consider and time to think. It has a better chance of protecting the longer-term interests of both spouses, not to mention those of the children.
Typically faster and less expensive
ADR is the fast lane in most cases. You might think discussing things would take more time than receiving orders from a judge, but that is rarely true. The wheels of justice turn slowly, as the saying goes. In a way, ADR is like a shortcut around the bureaucracy.
Because spouses, their attorneys, experts, the courts and everyone else need less time, the cost of ADR is usually far below that of other approaches.