Mediation can be an effective and economical way to obtain a divorce. However, mediation does come with its disadvantages. If both parties are adamant about the ownership of certain property, or cannot agree on custody issues, the case could end up having to be resolved in court. This means that the price of mediation will be added on to the price of a regular divorce, two attorneys, and possibly court proceedings. This results in bills that are higher than just a divorce proceeding.
The mediator is a neutral party who will not intervene if either party appears to be getting an unfair deal. Their job is to help the couple reach an agreement, not to help them individually. If one party becomes an aggressor and demands more than their spouse feels they are entitled to, it is up to the spouse to advocate for themself. If domestic abuse is involved in a case, mediation is not recommended since one of the parties will feel physically threatened or intimidated by their spouse and be more likely to give the other party whatever they ask.
Divorce mediation requires collaboration and teamwork, if the relationship between the two parties is poor, mediation could prove ineffective. Mediators will try to keep interactions civil, but they have no control over what happens outside these meetings. Furthermore, if one party refuses to cooperate and give up more than they originally wanted to, mediation could take significantly longer and prove to be unproductive. In New York State, mediation is voluntary so if either party does not want to mediate it will not occur.
Mediation does not require having an attorney present (although it is strongly recommended). This could save money but could also lead to inequitable, unclear agreements. If parties want to have an attorney, their spouse needs to agree to it otherwise mediation will end.
If a party is hiding assets from their spouse, there is a chance those assets will never be discovered. If found, later on, legal action can be taken to amend the initial agreement, but there is no certainty that they will be discovered. In regular divorce proceedings, attorneys typically find all assets of all parties and track down hidden belongings, however in mediation, parties are expected to be transparent about their earning and properties.
Mediation can help the relationship between both party’s cordial while being more cost and time effective. It also gives the parties control over the outcome of their property. It is up to the couple to determine if the pros of mediation outweigh the cons when looking at their own specific situation.