Often one spouse has interest in mediation, discusses it with me for a better understanding of how it works and what it costs and will then approach their spouse to encourage them to mediate their divorce. These are my tips on how to encourage your spouse to mediate, rather than you both using attorneys for the whole process:
- It’s a lot less expensive. Mediating your divorce is a whole lot less than the cost of a litigated divorce. For one, only one neutral party will be examining the financial documents, budgets and so forth. The mediator can provide an estimate of their fee and their hourly rate. Your spouse can take that knowledge when looking for an attorney and then he/she will quickly see that mediating is by far a less expensive choice.
- It’s much less likely to turn you into adversaries. When you each hire attorneys, it can turn into a “you vs. me” contest very quickly, and sometimes it can escalate and get out of your control. You have probably known people who ended up hating each other after their divorce and if you have children, this can put your children in between two warring parents and that can leave emotional scars for life.
- It offers an opportunity to end your marriage with grace and mutual respect. Mediating provides an opportunity to talk about co-parenting and consider each other’s needs in a neutral controlled environment.
- It allows you to make the decisions, rather than your attorneys or a judge. Each family is unique and mediating allows you to come up with solutions that better meet your needs. Attorneys are bound by a cannon to work in your legal best interests which may not be conducive to a compromise that better suits your situation. Judges will apply state guidelines which may not work for you, your spouse or your children. Mediating allows you to go over financial data together and engage in discussions which can change your prospective and allow agreements to be made that are more equitable and work better for your situation.
- It’s private. What goes on in court is on record and anyone can come into court and listen to your private matter. Mediation is confidential and statements made can’t be repeated in court and in NC a mediator can’t be called to testify or hand over his or her notes.
Mediating does not stop you from getting legal advice. I encourage a consultation with a mediation minded attorney so everyone understands their legal rights. This actually HELPS mediation because each spouse understands their strengths and weaknesses and an attorney can clear up misconceptions about dividing assets or support.
I am the only non-attorney dedicated divorce mediator in the Wilmington area and my mission is to help people divorce with grace, divorce in an emotionally healthier manner and in a financially smart manner. Mediating with a CDFA that will give you the financial guidance you need is the best move towards achieving all of those things!