30 Nov Ask Yourself These Important Questions Before Trying To Mediate Your Divorce
Divorce Mediation is becoming more and more popular as a cost-effective and less time-consuming alternative to traditional Divorce Litigation. And for many couples, Divorce Mediation simply makes more sense. Divorce Mediation can turn out successful for even the most complex cases. However, for the process to be successful, there needs to be a certain dynamic between both partners. Before you do try to dissolve your marriage through mediation, you should ask yourself these questions:
Has there been a history of violence in your relationship?
Mediation may not be a good choice for couples who have a history of violence in their relationship. Domestic abuse creates a dynamic, whether the abuse is mutual or one-sided. If both you and your spouse have a high-conflict relationship, your mediation will likely be high-conflict in nature. If you and your spouse have a history of domestic abuse that is considerably one-sided, this is likely to create a slanted dynamic, with one domineering partner and the other used to being submissive. This type of dynamic typically becomes the status quo. In these types of situations, the submissive partner’s fear may significantly alter their ability to act as their own counsel and stand up for themselves. The domineering partner may use tactics of intimidation in order to get their way, knowing their spouse will likely give in to their demands. It can be extremely difficult for a couple with an abusive dynamic to cooperatively communicate and negotiate with one another on an even playing field. Mediation likely won’t be successful if your relationship has a history of domestic abuse.
Are you able to communicate with your spouse, or does resentment do the talking?
Both you and your spouse should ask yourselves this question. There may have been some form of betrayal that played a part in your decision to divorce. If you don’t believe you can communicate with your soon-to-be ex without resentment leading the conversation, you may not be able to maintain composure. It is a mediator’s role to facilitate cooperative communication – however, no one but you can delete your resentment from the equation.
Can you trust your spouse to be reasonable with you?
Is your spouse a reasonable person? Or do they tend to be irrational when it comes to communicating with you in general? If they tend to hold on to emotional grudges against you, they may not be able to maintain composure during your mediation. Fixation on negative past experiences may hinder the process of Divorce Mediation.
Do you believe your spouse is hiding any marital assets?
In some divorce cases, one spouse will hide, understate or undervalue marital assets, overstate debts, report that their income is lower than it is in actuality or report higher than actual expenses. All of these tricks can affect alimony and child support. If you do suspect that your spouse is hiding marital assets, it’s better that you litigate your divorce. In a litigated divorce, you have the option to subpoena for such records whereas in a mediated divorce, you do not.
Do you believe you can commit to the process?
The real question here is do you believe you can stand up for yourself? Do you believe you can stay strong through the entire mediation process acting as your own counsel? Or, would you prefer someone else fight for your demands? By the end of the mediation, we encourage our clients to seek independent counsel to review their divorce settlement agreements – one they trust will look out for their best interests. However, should you see your own independent counsel before signing your divorce settlement agreement and they point out that a matter of your agreement is not beneficial to you, you may have to start from square one or decide to litigate said matter of your divorce.