Mediation Can Rebuild Trust – Litigation Certainly Won’t

Aug 26, 2021

Erosion of trust is a hallmark of the failure of many marriages. Marriages, of course, fail for many reasons. For some, the relationship weakens over time and the circumstances of growing apart, goals diverging or communication breaking down are relatively passive. In that case the trust between spouses may not have weakened in spite of the weakening of the relationship.

However, there are marriages where the actions of one or both spouses may directly lead to a breakdown in the marriage. A breach of trust characterizes these marriages, where there is infidelity, financial irresponsibility, controlling behavior or abusive acts—whether physical, verbal or emotional.

The absence of trust is a formidable barrier to a healthy future relationship. In marriages without children, this may not feel as important to you. However, if you are going continue to parent together in separate households, lack of trust creates a significant emotional challenge.

The process you choose to end your marriage can have a profound impact on whether the trust that has stayed intact in your relationship will remain so, and whether the trust that has been lost can be rebuilt. Divorce mediation has a much greater chance of positively influencing that trust than does litigation.

The process you choose to end your marriage can have a profound impact on whether the trust that has stayed intact in your relationship will remain so, and whether the trust that has been lost can be rebuilt. Divorce mediation has a much greater chance of positively influencing that trust than does litigation.

If you decide to litigate your divorce, you are choosing an adversarial process that is invasive and expensive; and, depending on the attorneys who are participating in the litigation, you may find yourself in a long-term contentious battle with your spouse. Think about what the chances are for the trust that remained in a passive decline of a marriage to withstand this kind of challenge. And if you have already lost trust in each other, will the opportunity to rebuild trust over time be squandered? What will your children observe about your parental relationship when the trust between you has evaporated?

In contrast, I believe that mediation offers an opportunity for most broken marriages to end without any further erosion in trust. In fact, the mediation process you engage to maintain control over how your marriage ends will conclude by creating a mutual plan. This can be a first step in rebuilding trust.

As a mediator, I’m committed to helping my clients build healthy futures that can maintain a foundation of trust, or at least begin the process of rebuilding trust. I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is worth considering how an environment that fosters collaboration and civility contrasts more favorably with one that pits one spouse against the other.