Myths of Mediation

Myth: Mediation allows one spouse to dominate another.

Fact: Trained mediators pay close attention to the power balance between the spouses and uses specific techniques to address any imbalance in a delicate but direct manner.  Parties usually meet separately with the mediator to minimize control issues.

Myth: Mediation makes the divorce take longer.

Fact: Mediation almost always takes less time than litigating a divorce. Unless the spouses have worked everything out ahead of time, hiring lawyers to handle the divorce will almost always take as long as or longer than mediating, even if the lawyers are able to settle out of court.

Myth: There’s no place for lawyers in mediation.

Fact: You’re welcome to bring your lawyer to mediation, if you want to, or you can use your lawyer as an advisor before and after a session. That’s strictly up to you. Lawyers who understand and support mediation can help mediating spouses in several ways: by informing them of their legal rights and options, by coaching them through the negotiations, by coming up with creative settlement ideas, and by preparing the necessary divorce paperwork once an agreement is signed.

Myth: In mediation, the mediator decides what’s fair.

Fact: Unlike a judge, a mediator has no power to make decisions for the divorcing spouses. The mediator’s job is to help the spouses negotiate an agreement that each of them considers fair enough to accept.

Myth: Mediation is binding.

Fact:  Either party is free to stop the mediation or refuse to sign an agreement that seems unfair to them.  You can always go to court if mediation doesn’t work.

Myth: Mediation a hassle compared to hiring a lawyer to handle the divorce.

Fact: Whether divorcing spouses mediate or litigate their divorce, they have to do a certain amount of gathering information and making decisions. Mediation offers a streamlined approach to the information-gathering and decision-making processes.

Myth: Mediation doesn’t work.

Fact: From years of research,  when you compare couples who have mediated their divorce with couples who go through an adversarial divorce,  mediating couples are more likely to be satisfied with the process and the results, likely to take less time and spend less money, and are less likely to go back to court later to fight about something.