Common Myths of Divorce Mediation
With the popularity and ubiquitous nature of courtroom dramas (including the acclaimed film Kramer vs. Kramer), divorcing couples often anticipate that each party will have his or her proverbial day in court. Often, such couples gloss right over the possibility of engaging in a mediation process. However, to do so would be a mistake, would be ignoring the benefits of mediation and may even be falling prey to false rumors and myths regarding mediation. Whether you are interested in engaging in mediation in your divorce proceedings or are situated staunchly against it, here are the truthful rebuttals to some common myths of divorce mediation.
“Mediation Will Allow One Party to Dominate the Other”
One goal of mediation is to keep the parties on equal footing. Mediators are well-trained and qualified. A mediator must and does pay close attention to the power balance between the parties, and if an imbalance occurs, a mediator is equipped with strategies and techniques to bring about an even balance.
“Mediation Must Take Much Longer Than Going to Court”
This myth betrays a misunderstanding of the requirements of the standard divorce process. In litigating a divorce, spouses and attorneys must file multiple documents with the court, recover various pieces of documentation, and engage in arguments regarding the terms of potential agreements. Because the focus of the litigation is adversarial in nature, rather than cooperative as in mediation, litigating a divorce almost always takes longer than mediating it.
“Men (or Women) Are at a Disadvantage in Mediation”
Historically, both men and women have contested patterns of perceived gender preference in divorce agreements on issues like child support and alimony payments. Regardless of how prevalent the impact of such preference really is, the reality is that in mediation, spouses of both genders often obtain agreements with which they are more comfortable than they would be with those generated by a court because unlike in litigation, mediation permits parties to incorporate non-legal factors into the negotiation.
“If We Are on Equal Footing with a Neutral Mediator, There Is No Need for an Attorney”
While mediation offers many benefits including savings on costs, time, and stress, it need not be a lawyer-free approach to divorce. Attorneys can be helpful to spouses in informing them of their rights and options, preparing documents and paperwork, and helping parties invent, defend, and propose effective settlement ideas. Along with this myth, a smaller, additional falsehood comes along.
“If I Have a Lawyer for Mediation, Any Lawyer Will Do”
Mediation in divorce cases is a relatively new development. Not every attorney is qualified to effectively assist you with mediation. If you are pursuing mediation in your divorce or are considering it as an option, consider contacting the Boca Raton law firm of Schwartz | White at 561-391-9943 today for a consultation. Unlike many firms, we have a breadth of experience in mediation and the disposition of divorce and separation cases. Put our experience to work for you.