Myth #1 – Only Simple Cases Can Be Settled By Divorce Mediation
For couples going through divorce, there is nothing simple about it, no matter the circumstances or how long (or short) they have been married. It’s emotional, and even basic decisions can be hard to make. A good divorce mediator can help calm those emotions, rather than allowing them to control the process and with divorce mediation, even the most complex cases or issues can be resolved in a mutually satisfactory way.
Myth #2 – You and Your Spouse Must Be Agreeable for Divorce Mediation to Work
If couples are agreeable, the process is of course going to be easier, but it’s definitely not a requirement or the rule! And actually, for couples who are argumentative, divorce mediation offers a greater benefit versus the agreeable couple. If an adversarial couple starts with hiring attorneys, that’s just going to add fuel to the fire, and when that happens all bets are off in many cases. Now they are looking at potentially spending tens of thousands of dollars, waiting 1-2 years before everything is finalized, and inflicting an untold amount of stress on both them and their children. Divorce mediation does not focus on the past or the negatives in the relationship. Rather it focuses on the future, cooperation, and solutions that work for each spouse. If the couple reaches an impasse, the divorce mediator can get creative and offer various compromises or alternatives that may solve the problem. A good divorce mediator can guide the process in such a way that even couples in conflict can find common ground.
Myth #3 – Divorce Mediation Is Not For Couples With Substantial Assets
For couples with limited assets, the number of ways in which things can be split are well…limited! But when couples have considerable income and assets, there are more decisions to be made hence allowing couples and their divorce mediator room to be creative and come to an agreement that insures both sides are satisfied. This is another example of the type of divorce where couples can save tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and bring it to a mutually beneficial conclusion in a few months, rather than years.
Myth #4 – The Divorce Mediator Makes Some Or All The Decisions
Quite the opposite. Divorce mediators make zero decisions. Couples make every single decision, together. A divorce mediator’s role is to educate the couple and help facilitate the conversation if they need help or get stuck trying to make a decision.
Myth #5 – I Will Get Taken Advantage Of If I Go To A Divorce Mediator
This is a concern that is expressed by many who come in for a consultation, and totally understandable. A divorce mediator will take the time to educate both spouses on the law and explain exactly how it applies in their particular circumstances. When you understand the law, you can make your own informed decisions. Only then, can you truly protect yourself. One example of this is that both parties will be required to fill out a full and complete financial disclosure. This is to make sure both parties feel confident and comfortable that they understand their financial situation.
Additionally, while the goal is to help the parties reach their own agreement, should the agreement deviate substantially from what they could expect in a court of law, or if it is unrealistic to think the agreement will work, it is the divorce mediator’s obligation to point this out to the parties.
Myth #6 – Divorce Mediation Means Settling For Less
Honestly most people have this vision of going to court and taking the other party for everything they have. The problem is that the other party thinks the same thing. Both parties think they are going to win big and in most cases, it’s not likely. Divorce is not a winner take all sport! Many of the decisions that need to be made are based off formulas defined by the state, so the most likely scenario is that couples are going to end up in relatively the same spot whether they hire a divorce mediator or an attorney. The only question is would you rather be a part of deciding that or leave it to a judge. In the end, who knows what you need more to be happy. You or a stranger?
Myth #7 – Divorce Mediation Is Not Necessary Because The Law Is Clear Cut
Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t. Even couples who feel this is the case, can find divorce mediation helpful. While they may not need a lot of assistance from the divorce mediator, the process, in its simplest terms is complicated. Couples need to know what decisions need to be made and what the law allows in their particular circumstance. They can benefit from the mediator taking down the terms of their agreement, making sure everything has been addressed, and arranging to formalize their matter through the court system. And all at a cost that is substantial less than a typical attorney’s hourly rate!
Often it is not clear cut, and that leaves couples with two choices:
Roll the dice and hire attorneys who will try to use the nuances of the law to make their respective cases. Unfortunately, there is no way to know what a Judge will decide until they get to Court. It will take time and money to get the answer. Sometimes more money than they were fighting over.
Or they can use a divorce mediator to help them come up with a compromise, which works for both of them. They decide what they can live with, and not risk having to live with an unknown decision imposed on them by a Judge. This also avoids going through a slow, costly, and stressful legal process. Choosing divorce mediation allows couples to control the shape of their own agreement and in turn their family’s future.
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