7 Misconceptions About Mediation

Divorce is difficult enough without having to endure a long, drawn-out, and public court battle. It often ends up more hurtful to families than helpful, not only by further damaging relationships, but also in the time lost, negative financial impact, and the fact your family’s future is left in the control of a judge who’s a complete stranger. Mediation is an alternative that offers a number of benefits. But it’s often overlooked or downright dismissed because of misconceptions. We’re refuting some of the most common here.

1. Mediation is only for couples who want to reconcile.

Not true. Yes, it is a process intended to improve communication, however, it’s so couples can come to an amicable agreement over terms in their divorce settlement such as distribution of assets, child custody, child support, and alimony. It has nothing to do with reconciliation.

2. The mediator will just tell us what to do.

A mediator is a neutral third party trained in negotiation and communication techniques who will provide guidance and general legal information to assist you in exploring options and making decisions. They serve as an intermediary and will neither make decisions for you nor will they give you specific legal advice.

3. Mediation is pointless because it’s not legally binding.

Consider mediation a safe, private environment to consider all your options and ideally come to an amicable agreement regarding your divorce. Once an agreement has been reached the mediator will create a written record which you can both sign and submit to your lawyers or the court to make it legally binding.

4. Mediation is simply a requirement in the litigation process.

You can actually conduct mediation prior to filing for divorce, and it’s not always a required part of litigated divorce proceedings. However, using mediation at any point during a divorce can actually save you the time, money, and frustration that comes with arguing out details over multiple court appearances.

5. The party that sets up mediation has the advantage.

Not at all. Mediation actually levels the playing field in that each person has an equal opportunity to exchange information and discuss options. Mediators have a professional duty to protect both parties during the process. What’s more, you’re not obligated to come to an agreement during mediation, it’s just more likely that you will give the mediator’s conflict resolution skills and guidance.

6. Suggesting mediation means your case is weak.

Mediation has nothing to do with the strength of one party’s case in divorce proceedings versus another. Rather it is a process designed to create a less confrontational environment where both parties can communicate more effectively as they work towards a divorce settlement.

7. Mediation is pointless unless a settlement occurs.

More often than not mediation results in a settlement or partial settlement. In the case of a partial settlement, at least you’ve made some progress. Yet even if no settlement occurs you may be able to narrow the issues to focus on in litigation, streamline the discovery process, or at the very least, will leave mediation with a better understanding of the strengths/weaknesses and interests/motivations of each party as well as what it will require to reach a settlement.

Contact us today to learn more!


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WhitsonLaw, PLLC

WhitsonLaw can assist you with divorce, mediation, custody, child support, protective orders, adoption and more.

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