3 Common Misconceptions About Divorce Mediation

Learn more about why Divorce Mediation may be right for your divorce case.

Separation and marital strife often bring up feelings of anger, resentment, and emotional conflict, all which can make the process of divorce length and expensive. If you and your spouse want to avoid expensive court hearings, dragging you and your family a through costly legal battle, you may benefit from divorce mediation. Mediation is a process that allows divorcing couples to confidentially resolve a myriad of issues involved in dissolution with the support of an skilled team of objective experts.

Mediation is a more dignified way to divorce, with less public drama, less legal involvement and no ugly court battles.

DSNW clients benefit from working with our professional team to mediate your divorce rather than the more expensive path of litigation. While mediation is less costly, less time-consuming, less divisive and stressful than the adversarial model of litigation, many people have misconceptions about mediation.

Misconception #1: Mediation Cannot Work in High-Conflict Cases

The most common misconception about divorce mediation it that people believe it is only suitable for couples who are splitting up amicably. The perception is because you are not getting along with your spouse, you cannot come to an agreement, let alone resolve sensitive issues regarding finances and children. Mediation is well-suited to helping parties with conflicting perspectives work through your differences and come to a reasonable solution(s). 

While some couples feel too emotional to sit down together, a mediator is a neutral third party, who has experience and training to help the parties focus on specific issues and work to resolve them. Our team’s mediator(s) have training, knowledge, and the tools available to assist when emotions run high, such as caucusing with the parties in separate rooms, or using an online platform when appropriate. Our experienced team of mediators are skilled at helping couples focus on specific issues and the future, rather than the conflict that brought them to divorce in the first place.

Another helpful approach for high-conflict cases is to bring additional professional(s) into the mix, such as a therapist(s), who can meet with the couple together or individually, as appropriate. The goal of this therapist is not to bring reconciliation, but to help the couple navigate emotional roadblocks and begin to communicate in a healthier way. 

By going through the mediation process and reaching reasonable solutions, parties who mediate learn new ways of working together, as you proceed into your new future. This process is beneficial, especially when children and co-parenting are involved. 

Misconception #2: The Mediator Makes Decisions for You

The belief that the mediation team will act as a quasi-judge and tell the parties what will happen is another common misunderstanding about the process of divorce mediation. One of the greatest advantages of mediation is that the parties retain control over the pace, the decisions, and the agreements. This is very different from litigation, where a judge imposes impersonal orders, timing and formalized judgments upon you, your family and your future.

In mediation, the mediator’s role is not a decision-maker, but to act as a neutral support system for both parties. The mediator helps the couple identify the issues needed to resolve your divorce, provides experience, information and education about the law, and other factors in dissolution. A skilled mediator facilitates a calm discussion so the parties can think clearly and decide what is best for them.

Understandably, when people reach agreements collaboratively, the decisions are less acrimonious and more sustainable than court orders that inform you what must do or not do, pay, or give to the other party.

Misconception #3: You Won’t Need an Attorney If You are Mediating Your Divorce

Finally, parties in mediation are sometimes surprised to hear that a mediator will recommend the final documents be reviewed by a consulting attorney(s). Our mediation team will provide you with the settlement documentation needed for your case. A consulting attorney, who is hired on a limited basis, provides specific legal advice to help decide how to best move forward in the negotiations. The role of a consulting attorney in mediation is very different than the role of a litigation advocate, and can be very helpful to finalize the process of mediation. In Conclusion

The hourly cost for a few hours of the attorney’s time is worth the expense, as it helps the client to make decisions and thereby move the mediation -process forward and to completion. In addition, at the point in the process when the parties have finalized your agreements, both parties review the agreements in detail, before they are submitted for legal review, enforce-ability and filed with the court. After all, these documents / agreements will have a lasting impact on your finances, your children, and your lives. It is prudent to be certain that you both fully understand the terms in the agreement, and that it accurately reflects your wishes.

In the end, working with a consulting attorney in mediation (as needed) is far less costly than full-scale divorce litigation and legal representation, and is well worth the expense to ensure that both parties are fully advised and supported, and that the divorce mediation is successful.

In Conclusion

Because mediation is highly adaptable and collaborative, both parties are supported and assisted in working cooperatively to resolve your issues. Through the process, you will make decisions that you both agree to live by, and will thus be best prepared to proceed in a productive and positive manner.

Best of all, you will have avoided the expense and stress of a long, protracted legal battle. In the end, almost every divorce case is suitable for resolution in mediation.

Your Trusted Partner

Whether you’re contemplating a divorce, have already started the process, or are far into the proceedings, do you wish you had someone to share with you the inside scoop on how to save money, time and emotional energy on your divorce?

Our team is available for a complimentary consultation to discuss the many scenarios, options and implications of separation or divorce, via telephone or videoconference during this time. Feel free to get in touch with us; we are here for you!

Leah Hill Email Signature | Divorce Strategies NW

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