Should You Always Try for Mediation During a Divorce?

Though many divorcing couples balk at the notion of entering mediation, it does offer them the opportunity to resolve some of the essential issues that need to be addressed without incurring significant cost. For those who have children or who will need to continue interacting with one another, It can also serve as a helpful model for how to communicate civilly and constructively.

If you believe that you and your spouse will be able to work together, there are a few points to keep in mind before you proceed to mediation. Probably the most important thing is to choose the right person to serve as mediator. Though it may be tempting to turn to a former marriage counselor or even a family friend, those individuals do not have the qualifications necessary for guiding you through the legal elements of a divorce. Divorce, at its base, is the dissolution of a contract, and even mediators need to know the complex laws involved in the distribution of assets, child custody, alimony and child support, and more. Your best bet is to select a professional legal mediator. These individuals are frequently a family court judge or retired probate. Other mediators work in partnership with attorneys, and your individual divorce attorneys may be able to agree on a mediator.

There are situations where mediation should not be considered or will not be fruitful. If you and your partner are strongly antagonistic then mediation is likely to be a waste of time. Mediation requires being willing to consider finding a middle ground between your points of view, so be honest with yourself about whether that is something that you are willing to do. If your marriage ended as a result of infidelity, mediation is often extremely difficult to navigate, as one partner is dealing with a strong sense of betrayal.  Mediation is also not a good choice for people who are not able to stand up for themselves, and that is often a reflection of long-standing dynamics within the relationship. Another scenario where mediation is out of the question is when the relationship has a history of domestic violence. In these situations, the most prudent thing to do is to have as much distance between the two of you as possible.

Divorce is a painful process, but having the right professionals guide you through it can make things go more smoothly. To learn how we can help, contact us today to set up a consultation.