Collaborative divorces and divorce mediation are an alternative to the messy, long-drawn out nightmare that a court led divorce can often turn into. Yet, there are a surprisingly large number of misconceptions surrounding divorce mediation, some grounded in a kernel of truth, some hearsay, others just figments of a paranoid though well meaning friend or relative. Here’s a look at some myths about divorce mediation that you need to stop worrying about right away so you don’t shy away from this alternative.
Divorce mediators just want to end the mediation fast
While it might seem like the primary goal of a mediator is to simply close out the discussion and help you arrive at a seemingly acceptable solution fast, the reality is that a mediator simply helps you to discuss your issues more amicably so that your chances of closing the matter are better. That could take just as long as any other process, it is just that a mediator gives you a platform that’s neutral where you and your spouse feel like you are on equal footing and have a voice.
Mediation is not an option for an estranged couple
While it is true that mediation will not be easy for a estranged couple, it is certainly not impossible. Divorce mediators are specially trained professionals whose very skill is to get couples who are not willing to talk to one another, to open up about their issues and work together towards a settlement or agreement that is acceptable. Mediation is actually a huge help and bridges the gap for couples who find themselves unable to speak to each other, and gets them to open up and engage in dialogue.
A court settled divorce may be more ‘fair’
In fact, both parties have a better chance of actually getting their point across in front of the mediator than they would in court where everything is left to the discretion of the judge and your attorney’s abilities. The judge will have to make their ruling based on the facts presented and the strength of the argument and evidence and testimony presented before them in family court. This may not swing in your favor, and may sometimes not even be ideal for both of you. A divorce mediation may end up giving you a more ‘fair’ closure to your divorce because it is something you will be convinced of, or will negotiate during the mediation.
A mediator is just going to try and save the marriage
A divorce mediator, even with a background in counseling, is not there to save your marriage. Mediators work with the assumption that you have done what you can and have approached them to help with the process of moving on. Their focus will be on helping you and your spouse come to some decisions on finances, children and other critical aspects of the divorce, so that you may get on with your life after divorce.
The court is the best place to win a child custody battle if your case is strong
No matter how strong or watertight your case might seem, a skillful divorce attorney could make an equally compelling case for your spouse to get sole custody. Because a court based decision is by its very nature confrontational it could even push an otherwise neutral spouse into getting aggressive and unreasonable. To make matters worse, your children may have to witness all this unpleasantness or even be called to give their testimony or be subjected to questioning as part of the court’s process. Instead, divorce mediation can help you and your partner come up with a parenting plan that is best for the kids and doesn’t leave either of you out in the cold.
Gerald A. Maggio is a trained Orange County divorce mediator who has amicably resolved cases many cases out of court, as well as an experienced divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Maggio founded California Divorce Mediators in 2012 with the belief that although “not every marriage can be saved, every family can” and a mission to save families from the financial and emotional distress associated with traditional divorce litigation. California Divorce Mediators is located in Irvine, California, and serves the Orange County area and other counties in California offering divorce mediation, child custody mediation and mediation of other family law matters.