Divorce Mediation Myths

Divorce Mediation MythsAre you considering mediation to resolve your Columbia City divorce?  Mediation is an excellent tool to address the critical issues of divorce while minimizing the time, cost and frustration of going through litigation.  Despite the fact that divorce mediation is certainly not new, lack of understanding about the process has led to several myths, discouraging many couples from taking advantage of alternative dispute resolution.  Here are a few of those myths and the realities behind the claim.

Mediation can prejudice the parties both in and out of court. 

Parties often fear the consequences should mediation fail to produce an agreed settlement.  However, mediation communications and negotiations are confidential and cannot be used in court should the parties proceed to litigation.  Meanwhile, mediation tends to level the playing field between two people and better clarify the issues and possible outcomes.  When serious power imbalances or financial disparities divide a couple, divorce mediation instead allows each party to work alongside an experienced mediator to resolve issues.

Mediation prolongs the divorce proceedings.

It is a mistake to assume that resolving a divorce as quickly as possible is in anyone’s best interest.  Likewise, in most jurisdictions, it can take months to get a hearing date before a judge due excessive court caseloads.  Mediation is an excellent middle ground in which couples can identify their areas of agreement while using the bulk of the time identifying and negotiating unresolved issues.   Framing the discussion at the beginning of the conversation is critical, because it will help the Columbia City mediator determine which issues are the most troubling.  In most cases, Columbia City couples have been able to achieve resolution sooner and at a higher rate of satisfaction.

Mediation is an additional expense

Realistically, it can be if the divorcing couple is unable or unwilling to reach an agreement.  A skilled mediator with experience in family law litigation; however, can highlight the pros and cons of continued disagreement, the likely results of any given agreements versus judicial intervention,  and the risks involved in proceeding to litigation, including ongoing legal expenses, prolonging of the divorce proceedings, outcome uncertainty, and loss of decision making authority.

Mediation is more work than hiring an attorney.

It is true the mediation process requires more work and commitment of the parties to reach a resolution; however, the process is non-coercive with the outcome determined mutually by the parties.   Conversely, if you prefer to hand over all control to an attorney and judge, litigation may be a fit for you.  In reality, however, your needs and situation will rarely align perfectly with existing court procedures and judicial determinations.  Most Columbia City couples using divorce mediation prefer to have the final say not only in the process but also the outcome.  This flexibility, of course, does require a greater investment of your time and energy, but it works to your advantage by making the divorce process more streamlined, less emotionally charged, and often less expensive than the alternative of contested litigation.

If you’re thinking about divorce mediation, it is worth the investment of your time and consideration, and the long term benefits can outweigh the further relational stress and damage of contested litigation.  As always, it is wise to consult legal counsel regarding your legal rights, what to expect, and the most beneficial course of action to take.