When struggling to situate through a divorce, many people may not consider mediation. Sometimes, it’s because soon-to-be-ex couples don’t even know its an available option. However, in most cases, mediation actually is beneficial! Regardless, in order to see the benefits, we need to address why divorce mediation is not “the popular choice”:
1. People Don’t Know Much About It.
Did you know that divorce mediation doesn’t have to be the first step in divorce? It could be used after court to resolve any lingering issues. Sometimes reaching an agreement in divorce mediation is for the better since the first stages of divorce entail painful emotions, which may fog the mind when trying to make a fair negotiation.
2. People Think That it Will be too Expensive.
On top of the court’s settlement, mediation may seem to be an extra expense that isn’t necessary. However, mediation is cheaper than litigation, saving an average of 12,000 dollars per couple in 2005 according to Everything Mediation.
3. It Takes Up Too Much Time.
Divorce via court is a lengthy process because it involved various meetings with a lawyer, hearings with a judge, trials, child custody concerns, and more. However, divorce mediation is on your own time, so if you are motivated, the process can be over in 6 months and a day, according to California law. Since the time is flexible to the couple’s needs, it may take longer depending on how self-motivated the individuals are with sticking to meeting times, filing paperwork, and communicating clearly. Still, the average case takes four to ten sessions with the mediator for an hour long each time.
4. Couples are Afraid that Their Issues Will Never be Resolved.
Both parties need to have a negotiable mindset and be ready to find an agreement for mediation to work. In some cases, mediation is not the best option for those who are in a relationship with a power struggle, since the resolution may be one-sided. However, a mediator always listens to both sides of the argument and does their best to find a shared decision. They care much more and learn a lot about personal lives that a judge would ever bother to consider when it comes to the best for both individuals in a divorce.
5. Divorce Mediation Can Leave Things Hidden and Vague.
There are no laws in divorce mediation that require all financial information to be put on the table. Therefore, if one partner is hiding something, you may never know about it until court, which mediation was supposed to keep you out of. Consider how trustworthy your partner is and how much they may be hiding from you before you enroll in divorce mediation. Also, make sure that the mediator’s resolution draft is very clear and can be enforced. Sometimes, drafts may still be challenged in court, making the entire mediation process useless; however, at least some of the problems will be resolved!
6. People Think They Will Agree to Something that isn’t Fair.
In most agreements, both parties aren’t 100 percent happy. That is just the nature of divorce. However, negotiating to discover the best outcome is where the mediator’s role comes to play. Usually, mediators resolve every issue in a divorce to some extent.
7. A Lawyer is Sometimes Still Necessary throughout the entire process.
Of course, this will increase your expenses, but hiring a lawyer throughout divorce mediation will also ensure that your best interests are always on the table and are legally enforced. Depending on the situation and how amicable you are with your partner, a lawyer may or may not be necessary.
Overall, mediation is usually the fastest, cheapest, and smartest path to finding a resolution during a divorce as long as both parties are ready to negotiate and settle things. According to Zephyr Legal Services, 50 to 80 percent of mediation cases reach a FULL agreement, meaning that those who don’t land in this percentage still reach agreement on some issues, just not all. If more couples understand what mediation is and truly are ready to end their marriage on friendly terms, then divorce mediation would be a more popular choice.