Considering Divorce Mediation?
5 Things Your Attorney Wants You to Know When Considering Divorce Mediation
When you are considering divorce mediation, you are probably wondering what’s expected of you. How does it all happen? Is mediation right for me? As an attorney-mediator for Alpha Center for Divorce Mediation, I’d like to start this series on what to expect during Alpha’s 7-Step Divorce Mediation Program™ with 5 things your mediator wants you to know when you consider divorce mediation.
- You don’t have to be friends or even that friendly to mediate your divorce. Many people think they have to agree on everything to go through mediation. You don’t. Mediators are skilled at developing creative solutions and compromises to help each party achieve his or her goal while being fair to the other party.
- We’re not judging you. We know that negotiations over something as benign as who keeps the living room furniture can stir up feelings of resentment, sadness, anger or fear. We know things are bound to get heated. That’s ok. We’re going to make sure each of you has an opportunity to be heard. But, we’re also going to keep the discussions focused on being productive. Chances are that we’ve personally been through a divorce and have deep empathy for the situation.
- Going through mediation doesn’t mean you sacrifice or waive your legal rights, unless you choose to do so. Sometimes, a party who feels less financially savvy than the other is afraid he or she will be “taken to the cleaners,” unknowingly giving up more than necessary or desired. With Alpha’s 7-Step Divorce Mediation Program, your attorney-mediator is going to make sure you both have a basic understanding of your rights and responsibilities under the law. However, you are always in control of the final decisions. For example, under the law, you may be entitled to a portion of the spouse’s retirement account, but if you both decide splitting the retirement account is unnecessary, the choice is yours. Our goal is always to make sure each of you is well-informed when you’re making decisions about what works best in your situation.
- It’s very good to consider what you think you will need, but be flexible. It’s ok to have some specific goals about what you want out of the divorce, but try to be open as to how those goals are achieved. It’s ok if you want to keep the house or you want a certain investment to remain untouched; however, try to be open about how that might work best for the other person. Your attorney-mediator can help find solutions and compromises.
- It’s really important that communications are transparent. We can’t keep secrets from your soon-to-be ex-spouse. We have a responsibility to be a neutral, third party. We don’t take sides. We can’t be seen as favoring either party. Therefore, please don’t tell us anything you don’t want the other party to know. And when sending an email to your attorney-mediator, consider that it may be forwarded to the other party. This way you are both protected.
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