Divorce mediation has become more popular in recent years, as it saves time and cost while also attempting to reduce emotional turmoil. While many have increasingly chosen mediation as an alternative to retaining two opposing attorneys and going through court proceedings, there still seems to be misunderstandings and “myths” about how mediation works. Such misunderstandings will lead people to avoid mediation while they can be benefit from it. By dispelling these mediation misconceptions, divorce mediation will be seen as a more viable option for more couples.
Mediation Myth #1
There’s a myth that in divorce mediation, the mediator makes the decisions as to what a reasonable agreement is. This is not the case. Divorce Mediators are not judges. A mediator’s role is what the title suggests: to mediate. Mediators want to resolve issues using compromises that both parties can feel comfortable with while not making final decisions. The couple has complete control over the ultimate agreement or settlement. If either party does not want something to happen, it will not happen. All decisions during divorce mediation will only occur if all parties agree to the terms.
Mediation Myth #2
Many are concerned that they will not know what to do if they choose mediation. This is a completely reasonable concern when someone has control but doesn’t know how to approach the situation. There is an understandable concern that a wrong decision will be made. However, this is one of the mediator’s roles, to walk parties through the process keeping them both informed on everything they need to do or consider. If parties reach an obstacle during the negotiations, it is the mediator’s job to offer various compromises and alternatives that may solve the problem. The Mediator will be there to guide and address any question, or concern that may arise.
Mediation Myth #3
Another misconception is that mediation isn’t legally binding so the couple will still have to end up in court. This is far from the truth. At the end of mediation, a contract is written up and both parties sign it. This is a legally binding agreement and if a party does not abide by the agreement, they are in breach of a contract and they can be taken to court.
Mediation Myth #4
Finally, many people believe that only simple cases, meaning cases with no assets and no children can be settled with divorce mediation. This is not the case. Many high net worth couples or individuals with children can use mediation. The deciding factor is the degree of animosity and desire to destroy former spouse versus ability to see things fairly and reasonably for ex- spouse and kids.