3 Common Myths About Divorce Mediation

Mediation is now becoming the norm in the world of divorce law. This innovative approach places the choices for your future in your hands, not in the judgment of the stranger in black robes.

Mediation can be less costly, both emotionally and financially, than litigation. In its purest form, mediation is completely client-driven, without consideration of what constraints or benefits the law could actually impose on you.

It’s also a very civil approach, so that your precious financial resources, including college funds and savings accounts, have the greatest chance of being spared.

Mediation involves the use of an impartial third party to help you arrive at an agreement. You and your spouse will sit with a trained mediator to tease out the particulars of your case. It is not the mediator’s job to educate you about divorce law; be sure to educate yourself, preferably with the help of a lawyer who can serve as a guide on the sidelines.

Your mediator’s sole responsibility is to provide a safe space in which (s)he facilitates discussions between you and your spouse. Your mediator is not here to answer your questions concerning divorce laws.

A good mediator will help you address the important topics in your case and may even make suggestions, but he or she will not advise you on what you should do, nor on what would happen should you land in court. This is precisely why you need to learn the law prior to mediating. Once you’re clear on your objectives, the mediator will further assist you in drafting a comprehensive agreement, which will serve as the template for your divorce settlement.

Mediation Myth No. 1 :

Mediation Saves Money Because I Don’t Need To Hire A Lawyer.

While technically you may not need an attorney, it is still a good idea to use a lawyer for several reasons. At minimum, you’ll need to consult with an attorney. That lawyer can instruct you about the applicable laws in your state, help you design the best way to approach your agreement, and review the final documents that will become your final dissolution contract. Depending on how much assistance you need throughout your process, your lawyer may be more hands-on.

While you’ll pay for the mediator and potentially your lawyers in scheduled mediation sessions and agreement review, at least you won’t be paying for those two lawyers and their hours of document drafting and endless waiting time in court.

Even with attorneys, typically with mediation financial resources will likely be conserved. And, even if mediation becomes costly or unpleasant, it is practically always going to be less emotionally damaging than litigation in the long run.

Mediation Myth No. 2:

I Don’t Need my Lawyer to come with me to Mediation.

In some cases I advise and suggest that both parties bring their lawyers to negotiate the most efficacious agreement in the shortest possible amount of time. Your mediation-friendly attorney can keep the process on track and address nuances that may or may not work in the long term. And if your spouse has a tendency to get under your skin or try to manipulate the situation, your lawyer can advocate for you and help you keep the peace within yourself and with others in the room.

Mediation Myth No. 3:

it Requires Both Parties to be Absolutely in Agreement and Peaceful at all Times.

No, it just requires that you’re both willing to do this in a more civil, open space rather than in a courtroom with a stranger who’s rushing to the next case. Mediation isn’t necessarily perfect, but it’s way more cost-effective (financially and emotionally) and visionary than the courts.