There are several myths about divorce mediation. Below are seven common misconceptions we hear.
Divorce Mediation Myth #1: Mediation is the best option for every divorcing couple.
Mediation works for many divorcing couples, but not for some. Mediation works best for spouses who are able to speak up for what’s important to them, and can maturely handle themselves during the process. For some couples, mediation may not offer enough structure and guidance.
Couples with a history of domestic violence or verbal abuse may need to have lawyers speak for them instead of trying to negotiate directly. In addition, some spouses may be unable to settle and compromise, and prefer to assume cost of litigation in order to assert a legal right.
Divorce Mediation Myth #2: Mediation takes more time than hiring a lawyer and finishing the divorce.
When divorcing, the process always takes some time on both parts of the couple in question, whether it is through divorce or mediation.
Mediation offers a streamlined alternative to the drawn-out process of using the courts to divorce—it allows couples to finish the divorce at their own pace.
Divorce Mediation Myth #3 : Mediation lets one spouse take all of the control.
An experienced mediator is aware of the spousal dynamic, and employs special techniques to address any power imbalances. If one spouse continually overpowers the other and dominates, the mediator will put an end to the mediation session.
An exception is that sometimes, mediators cannot be aware of power struggles that take place outside of the mediation sessions. These need to be brought to the mediator’s attention.
Divorce Mediation Myth #4: Women are at a disadvantage in mediation.
This statement is completely false. In Truth, women often express themselves more in mediation than they can in divorce court, because the process of mediation allows different outcomes than what is standard in separations in the court.
Also, except for court-ordered mediation, a woman has the ability to stop the mediation until they come to an agreement that she finds acceptable and fair.
Divorce Mediation Myth #5 : Mediation makes the divorce take longer.
The beauty of mediation is that is almost always faster than litigating a divorce. Oftentimes, the process of both spouses hiring lawyers and setting dates and meetings alone will take longer than an entire mediation.
At Petrelli Previtera, mediation can be complete in anywhere from one to four sessions.
Divorce Mediation Myth #6: Mediation is for weak spouses.
In actuality, mediation allows spouses to speak for themselves an what they want out of the divorce. Unlike going to court, they do not have lawyers speaking for them and telling them what to do.
Because of this process, people who mediate develop stronger communication skills and self confidence. They also have a higher satisfaction level about the agreement they made with their ex-spouse.
Divorce Mediation Myth #7 : There’s no place for lawyers in mediation.
The best mediations take place in attorney offices. This is because lawyers understand mediation as well as legal rights. They can help mediating spouses by informing them of their legal rights and options and by coming up with agreeable and reasonable settlement ideas.
The attorney can also then prepare the necessary divorce paperwork once an agreement is signed. Petrelli Previtera charges an hourly fee for mediation, and can include the fee for the official PA or NJ divorce paperwork.