Myth: If we go to mediation, we have to sit in the same room together to try and work things out. I will have to sit across the table from my spouse and he/she will intimidate me or badmouth me to the mediator and I won’t get a good settlement.
Truth: Most often you will be in a separate room from the other side. This allows you to consult with your attorney and the mediator in private. It also allows you to process the emotion and think things through without the other party watching your every move. Hollywood loves portraying divorce mediations with lots of emotion and drama. That’s why they show mediations in a large conference rooms with both parties sitting eye to eye directly across from each other.
You will exchange documents prior to the mediation, allowing discussion with your attorney before you go to the mediation. The mediator begins by finding out what each party would like to have come out of the mediation. During the mediation the mediator does shuttle diplomacy – going back and forth between the parties taking offers and counter-offers back and forth. The goal is to have a signed settlement agreement at the end of the day.
The mediators are attorneys and they do not favor one party or their attorney. They are there to help the parties resolve their issues, end the divorce and get on with starting a new life. So, you do not need to negotiate directly across the table from your spouse – unless you want to do that.
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