Mediation is a technique for resolving disputes in which a trained mediator sits down with both parties to a conflict and tries to help those parties work out a deal. During a divorce, many people first choose mediation to try and resolve their issues. More often than not, mediation works well, and both sides can come to an agreement.
There are many myths about what mediation can and can’t do for you. Here are some important things to understand about the mediation process.
Mediators are trained to help people resolve their issues and settle their differences themselves — but, mediators can’t force people to agree to anything.
Mediators don’t take sides. They are supposed to be independent and neutral, to help guide the parties towards finding solutions for resolving their differences.
Mediators have no authority to decide any issues of the case or force you or your spouse to do anything.
Mediation only works when both parties willingly participate and cooperate with the process. You have to be honest and open, and disclose your income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. A mediator can’t help you divide up your assets, or figure out if you can both still live comfortably after the divorce, if you both aren’t honest about your finances and circumstances. Mediation requires cooperation.
Mediation can be a great solution for helping resolve your differences, and create a more flexible agreement than one handed down by a court. It also helps cut down on costs associated with taking your case to court.
But mediation isn’t for everyone, and it often fails because the parties can’t come to an agreement. In many cases, especially where there’s a custody dispute, you will need the expertise of an attorney.