3 Mistakes to Avoid in Divorce Mediation

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Divorce mediation is supposed to be a good thing. The process of divorce mediation is part of a system called ADR, or alternative dispute resolution. The premise behind ADR is to keep cases out of court unless they have to be there. In particular, divorce mediation is also designed to allow a feuding couple to come to a divorce agreement between the two of them, with the help of this independent third party mediator. The mediator is trained in getting people to talk and negotiate and although he won't take sides or make decisions for the couple, he makes it possible for them to make decisions so that a settlement can be arrived at and turned over to the judge to agree to. Instead of litigating the divorce in court, this means couples save money and have greater autonomy in choosing what happens after divorce. However, it is entirely possible to make mistakes in divorce mediation- and you want to avoid making costly errors that could hurt your future.

Divorce Mediation Mistakes

Here are several common divorce mediation mistakes to avoid:

  • Believing the mediator will safeguard your rights. It is not the mediators job to tell you that you are giving up something to which the law entitles you to. That is your attorney's job, and you should have an attorney either present at mediation or available to prepare you beforehand and to look over the agreement before you sign to make sure it is fair.
  • Being too willing to compromise. Compromise is good, and divorce mediation will not be successful unless you are willing to give a little bit to your husband or wife in order to reach a deal you can both live with. However, you may want to just get everything over with and you may feel sad, hurt or angry and not want to face your spouse day in and day out while you negotiate. Still, giving in too much and giving up your rights just to come to an agreement is short sighted and you may regret being so nice when you find yourself facing financial struggle after divorce.
  • Being too rigid: While you shouldn't be a pushover, going to the opposite extreme is also a terrible idea. If you go into mediation believing you are going to walk out with every single thing you want, the mediation is almost doomed to failure from the beginning. Divorce settlements are about give and take and getting what is most important to you in order to actually come to a consensus.

Getting Help

If you are going through the process of a divorce, it is very important for you to have the help of a family law or divorce attorney. Your attorney can guide you through what you should do during the divorce process, and can tell you whether mediation is the right option for you given the nature of your divorce.

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