7 Divorce Mediation Myths

Divorce is often seen as an all-out fight between two separating spouses. Couples fight over practically everything, as they literally split much of the life they built together right down the middle. Everything from assets to children is up for grabs. Often times, the ensuing court battle leaves a foul taste in everyone’s mouth when everything is said and done.

However, there’s an alternative path to the grueling process of dragging a divorce through court. Divorce mediation has proven to be an effective way for couples to resolve many of their issues while saving them time, money and stress. It’s a mediator’s job to sit down with a couple and facilitate a discussion that leads to the drafting of a settlement agreement that covers all of the terms of a divorce.

Unfortunately, over the years, certain myths have become associated with divorce mediation. Here are seven of those myths and the facts that dispel them:

1) Myth: The courtroom is the best place to resolve your divorce.

When you’re getting a divorce, everything is on the line. This includes your assets as well as your kids. You may think going to court is necessary to resolve these important issues, but that often is untrue.

Mediation allows couples to sit down across from each other and settle upon a fair plan for who gets what. It’s inevitable they may still argue over the details of the arrangement, but it’s  most often less adversarial working with a mediator than to battle it out in court . It also allows couples to reach an enduring parenting plan and spares the children from exposure to  a courtroom.

2) Myth: Mediation means settling for less.

One of the major myths associated with divorce mediation is that settling outside of court typically means that you’ll have to settle for less. Why shouldn’t you take your spouse to court and clean them out for everything they’re worth?

Frankly, if you’re in court, the odds of taking everything from your spouse are slim to none. In fact, in Virginia, the most common court result is for a judge to split all marital property equally (50/50).

3) Myth: Mediation increases the length of time it takes to get divorced.

Mediation does not increase the length of time it takes to get divorced. In fact, it usually decreases the time. In litigation, even if you settle out of court, the process is still likely to take longer than mediation.

4) Myth: The mediator makes all of the decisions.

People tend to confuse mediators with arbitrators or judges. Mediators are there to facilitate divorcing couples reaching divorce settlement agreements., but they don’t have the power to make decisions for them.

5) Myth: Mediation is for people too afraid to go to court.

Unlike in a court room, spouses are able to stand on their own two feet as they do their best to reach a fair agreement. Spouses are able to feel more self-confident about the process and tend to communicate better, often leading to resolutions that leave all parties feeling more satisfied overall.

6) Myth: Mediation is more of a hassle then going to court

In litigation, by the time things have been settled or your case has gone to trial, a great amount of the assets that you fought so hard for may be swallowed up by lawyer’s fees. Mediation is a more streamlined approach to getting divorced, saving you time and money and avoiding the stress of a lengthy battle in divorce court.

7) Myth: Mediators will try to pressure you into saving your marriage

Mediators aren’t there to work out your marriage. They’re also not there to counsel you on affairs of the heart and what you can do to make things “work again.”  Mediators have one job and that’s to try to help separating couples to work out settlements with which both spouses can live.


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