As a mediator and divorce financial analyst, I often meet with one spouse who is on board with mediating but must convince their spouse to go that same route. If you are approaching divorce, there are many reasons why the better choice is to mediate instead of using attorneys for everything.
First, when you each hire attorneys, it can turn into a “you vs. me” contest very quickly. It is crucial to understand that attorneys are bound by a cannon to work in their client’s best interests and that is not conducive to settlement. Many attorneys will throw out a settlement offer that is far more than they really expect to get, but they want room to negotiate. That can make your spouse furious and matters can quickly escalate and get out of your control.
You may have had the intent to settle quickly when you hired your attorney, but having your case flip to an adversarial divorce is not uncommon. You have probably known people who ended up hating each other after their divorce, and if you have children, this can put your children in between two warring parents and that can leave emotional scars for life.
Mediating offers an opportunity to end your marriage with grace and mutual respect. It also provides an opportunity to talk about co-parenting and consider each other’s needs in a neutral controlled environment.
Also, mediating your divorce is a much less expensive choice than the cost of a litigated divorce. You can meet with a mediator without your attorneys present. In that case, only one neutral party will be examining the financial documents, budgets and so forth which keeps costs much lower.
If you use a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, there is the added benefit of financial guidance, which benefits both spouses, but particularly a spouse who is not financially savvy. You can also both be represented by an attorney. My suggestion is to make it very clear to your attorney that you want settlement negotiations to begin at the mediation session.
Most cases never go to court but by mediating early, you can save a lot of letter writing between the attorneys, which is costly. You will also probably reach settlement in a shorter amount of time and have this part of the divorce behind you.
Mediation allows you to make the decisions, rather than your attorney or a judge. Each family is unique, and mediating allows you to come up with solutions that better meet your needs. You know best what compromises better suit your situation.
Judges will apply state guidelines which may not work for you, your spouse, or your children. Mediating allows you to go over financial data together and engage in discussions which can change your prospective and allow agreements to be made that are more equitable and work better for your situation.
Mediation is private. What goes on in court is on record and anyone can come into court and listen to your private matter. Mediation is confidential and statements made cannot be repeated in court and in North Carolina where I work, a mediator cannot be called to testify or hand over his or her notes.
Mediating does not stop you from getting legal advice. I encourage a consultation with a settlement minded attorney so you understand your legal rights. This actually HELPS mediation because each spouse understands their strengths and weaknesses, and an attorney can clear up misconceptions about dividing assets or support.
My mission is to help people divorce with grace, divorce in an emotionally healthier manner and in a financially smart manner. Mediating with a CDFA that will give you the financial guidance you need is the best move towards achieving all those things! Read more about the many reasons why hiring a CDFA is an emotionally healthier and financially smarter alternative.
Did you mediate your divorce and how do you feel about the outcome? Do you feel you saved a lot in attorney fees? Do you feel the process was faster? What advice would you give to others to make the mediation process better?
Tags Divorce After 60