Divorce mediation comes with a plethora of benefits for some divorce couples – benefits like lower costs, more privacy, and faster, fairer results. However, many couples never consider the option of mediation – or reject it out of hand – because of misconceptions they have about the process. Below, we’ve dispelled four common divorce mediation myths that cause some people to pass mediation by without giving it a chance:
Myth #1: Divorce mediation is marriage counseling.
Perhaps the biggest misconception about divorce mediation is that it is only for couples who ultimately want to work on their marriage and get back together. This is simply not the case. Although some aspects of divorce mediation may remind you of therapy – there is a mediator, an emphasis of sharing your honest feelings, and a room where everyone talks out their problems – the ultimate goal of mediation is to fairly settle the details of your divorce.
Myth #2: Mediation is only for people going through a divorce.
Mediation has a number of functions for couples who can’t come to agreements on their own. Mediation can help you develop a parenting plan or child visitation schedule whether or not you are divorcing. In addition, mediation can be used before or after a divorce to settle issues like parenting plan modifications, changes in spousal support, or asset division.
Myth #3: In mediation, I won’t have any legal help or guidance.
Some people have the wrong idea that mediation is just between you, your spouse, and the mediator, but this is not the case. You may absolutely have a lawyer during the mediation process – and a lawyer is recommended if you want to protect your rights and your property. A lawyer can not only help you understand your divorce case, she can also help you understand the best way to use the mediation process.
Myth #4: Mediation is the best choice for every couple experiencing divorce.
Mediation is probably still an underused resource for many Washington couples – some don’t know it’s an option and others may dismiss it after hearing a mediation myth. However, in some cases, mediation is not the best option. For example, couples with a history of domestic abuse, couples who have struggled with substance abuse issues, and couples with extremely acrimonious relationships should probably not consider mediation.
Do you think mediation might be a worthwhile option for your Washington State divorce? Speak with a Seattle divorce attorney to learn more by calling Molly B. Kenny at 425-460-0550.