Mediation is the smart and sensible way to resolve many divorces, but mediation doesn’t come without problems.
The first problem is when people want to use mediation to rush their divorce. There is usually one spouse who wants out of the marriage fast, while the other is still trying to process the end of the marriage. Rushing to the finish line is often a mistake because it can lead to a breakdown in the mediation process, resulting in possible litigation, including setting aside a mediated agreement. The better process is for each spouse to fully understand the agreements being reached during the mediation process and have the time to reflect on those agreements. Finally, each spouse should be given the opportunity to have their mediation agreement reviewed by an independent attorney of their choice at the end of the mediation, before their Judgment/Agreement is signed and submitted to the Court for filing.
The second problem is when people think they don’t have to complete financial disclosures in a mediation. Parties to mediation must understand that the full disclosure of all assts, debts, and community business or investment opportunities, must be disclosed by each party in mediation, just as in a traditional litigated divorce. There is no getting around this if you want your final Judgment/Agreement to be enforced.
Another problem with mediation is parties mistaking a mediator’s role. Mediators cannot give parties legal or financial advice, so it is important that parties to mediation have an independent attorney and/or financial advisor available for consultations and review of the final Judgment/Agreement. Parties to mediation can and should ask their mediator to explain the law on each issue in mediation and provide parties with relevant statutes or case law if requested.
Finally, it is paramount that parties in mediation commit to treating each other fairly and with respect, remembering the reasons they married in the first place is a good way to start. You cannot change the past, but a mediation agreement can reflect the respect and fairness that both parties want for their future. If you are considering divorce and want to learn more about mediation, contact The Reape-Rickett Law Firm today at (888) 851-1611 or contact us HERE.