Because traditional divorces can get ugly, an increasing amount of couples are turning to mediation as a realistic alternative to messy legal battles. Mediators can help couples reach agreements that work for them, from finances to child custody, in a healthy and transparent way. You may have heard some myths that give you doubts about mediation working for your own divorce. Let’s explore the myths and face the facts:
Myth #1: Mediation is for weak people
FACT: It is actually the opposite: mediation allows both parties of divorce to speak their feelings and stand up for what they want rather than lawyers speaking for them. Mediation balances power differences and promotes self-determination. As a result of mediation, people often come out of their divorce with increased self-confidence, communication skills, and agreements that will actually fit into their lives.
Myth #2: Mediation makes the divorce take longer
FACT: Actually, mediation gives you the power to control how long the divorce takes and generally takes significantly less time than traditional divorce. Hiring lawyers will almost always take longer than mediating, unless the spouses have worked everything out ahead of time. Mediation offers a straight-forward approach to gathering information and decision making, while using the courts requires involved procedures .
Myth #3: The mediator is the decision-maker
FACT: A mediator is not a judge, and therefore has no power to make decisions. The mediator’s job is simply to help the spouses reach an agreement that they can both accept.
Myth #4: Mediation requires us to be cooperative and to not have conflict
FACT: Mediators are skilled at helping people in conflict; that is what mediators do—help people resolve conflicts. Even though you think that you can’t even be in the same room as your spouse, the mediator will help you do just that. The mediator will keep your conversations on track and help you through the conflicts so that your mediation sessions are productive. The mediator will facilitate your discussions so that you are able to make pragmatic decisions that you both agree upon.
Myth #5: Going to court is the best way to fight for my kids
FACT: A courtroom battle to keep a strong relationship with your children immediately puts your kids in the middle of an upsetting situation. Parenting mediation is usually successful and in the best for children of divorce because the parents can come up with a plan that meets the needs of the children. The jointly agreed upon plan puts the parents on the same side when it comes to the children. Research shows that parents who mediate and cooperate have a better long-term relationship with their kids.
Myth #6: There’s no place for lawyers
FACT: Lawyers who understand mediation can actually help mediated divorces by informing the spouses of their rights and options, brainstorming settlement ideas, coaching them through the negotiations, and by preparing necessary paperwork once an agreement is signed.