There are a plethora of myths surrounding divorce mediation. Mediation is simply another tool used by lawyers and the courts to settle divorces. The increase in divorces has inundated courts and lawyers with cases. In fact, many courts now mandate mediation prior to litigation to get couples to settle out of court. This post will go over mediation and what you can expect from it.
What mediation can do is help two reasonable people agree on some last points before they divorce. If you and your ex-spouse already agree on how to divide everything, then you don’t need a mediator, you need a lawyer to prepare your paperwork and file it. Mediation is only if you have a disagreement to resolve.
Mediation cannot act as a marriage counselor. Oftentimes a couple will go into mediation with two wildly different goals. One of you is done with the marriage and wants to end it while the other views mediation as another opportunity to work on it. If you are not on the same page, then you should skip mediation until you are. All you are doing is chasing good money after bad choices.
Mediation cannot help two people who refuse to compromise. Mediation, like negotiation, is non-binding. The mediator cannot force either of you to do anything you don’t want to. If you are unable or unwilling to compromise, then you are better off skipping mediation and proceeding straight to litigation.
If you are considering divorce, mediation may be a viable alternative to litigation. You should probably still consult with an attorney to confirm that you have thought of all the legal issues before you agree to a mediated settlement. An attorney can impartially review the agreement to help ensure that it is everything that you expect it to be.