It is not uncommon for a divorcing couple to stray away from mediation because they do not have a thorough understanding of the process. In these situations, traditional courtroom litigation might seem more comforting. While every divorce is different, it is wise to avoid making a decision based on what might be learned from entertainment media or anecdotes handed down from friends or family members.
Here are three common myths that might cause a divorcing couple to avoid mediation:
- Mediation only works if you are on good terms with your soon-to-be ex: The roots of this myth likely lie within the spirit of the divorce mediation itself. Mediation is about working together through the process. In its simplest terms, it’s not about working together as friends – it’s about working together as opposed to having the divorce order created and handed down to you by a judge. With a neutral mediator’s guidance, the divorcing couple can stay focused and remain civil while navigating challenging aspects such as custody, support and property division.
- Mediation can be dominated by one spouse if he or she is a better negotiator: It is possible that this myth was created and perpetuated by the portrayal of boardroom negotiations in popular media. These fictitious negotiations often center around someone winning or outsmarting their opponent. In divorce mediation, however, the proceedings are facilitated by a neutral third-party who will guide the parties through cooperation rather than strong-arm tactics.
- The mediator will like my spouse and decide in his or her favor: Contrary to popular belief, the mediator holds no true decision-making power through the process. They will not be responsible for making a final decision in your case – how property is divided, the approval of a parenting plan, etc. Mediators are trained to facilitate a productive conversation and keep the entire process moving forward.
With the help of an experienced family law attorney and a skilled third-party mediator, your divorce mediation can run smoothly and efficiently. Do not hesitate to explore your options.