Mediation continues to grow in popularity among divorcing couples, primarily because it is less expensive and less stressful than litigation. Even with these benefits, mediation may not be on your radar because of some common misconceptions about how it works.
In reality, mediation can work for just about everyone involved in a family law matter, whether it is a divorce, a child custody dispute, or divorce order modifications.
Myth #1: Mediation is only for amicable divorces.
This is probably the most common misconception about mediation — that it only works for couples whose divorce is amicable. In fact, mediation also helps high conflict couples work through their differences and reach a reasonable solution in a private setting.
Even if you think you can’t even sit in the same room as your spouse, in mediation you will work with a neutral third party — the mediator — who has the training and experience to help you focus on the issues and work together to resolve them. Mediation doesn’t mean you have to even sit in the same room, as it can be done using an online platform or with the two parties occupying separate rooms.
A mediator can also bring in a trained marriage or family therapist if emotions are running high to meet with the parties together or individually. The therapist will focus on helping the couple communicate better so they can reach a reasonable solution that will work for both of them. Learning new communication skills is a big help if children are involved and the couple will be co-parenting them together.
Myth #2: A mediator is like a judge and will make the final decisions.
One of the biggest benefits of mediation is that both parties have control over all the decisions and the final outcome of their divorce case. The mediator is there to facilitate decision-making, not to make the actual decisions for you and your family. Because you retain control of what goes into the final divorce agreement, it is much more likely that the final order will be followed by all parties.
Myth #3: You don’t need an attorney for mediation.
While the mediator will provide you with general guidelines, that legal advice will not be specific to either spouse but will instead be impartial to both. In other words, a mediator cannot give you specific legal advice. But a consulting attorney can. Even if your divorce is an amicable one, there are bound to be issues that arise where you wonder what the best course of action will be for your individual future. Having your own attorney to consult with you on these issues and coach you through the negotiations will help you make informed decisions as well as move the mediation process along more smoothly.
It is important that you do not wait too long to retain an attorney when you are facing a family law issue. Delays can cost you valuable legal rights, and you want to make sure that you have the advice and support you need to make the best decisions for you and your family long after the divorce settlement is reached. Contact us today for your free consultation.