Your view of the divorce experience is very different after you’ve experienced one. Going into the process, you think if you are prepared and tell your story, the judge will rule in your favor. After you’ve been through it, you question the validity of the legal system. It does not seem to have been designed for fairness, for the only sure winners in the end are the attorneys, who profit from your misery.
Looking back now, I realize that the more emotional the lawyers make the process, the more profitable it is for them. If my ex and I were to sit and negotiate without the additional fuel on the fire provided by our attorneys, could we have each walked away with more money? Undoubtedly. But we are accustomed to thinking attorney are the only option, when in fact, that is not true. You can, indeed, work out an agreement more civilly using a mediator.
Toning Down the Rhetoric
Mediators are not for everyone. If your situation involves domestic abuse, threats or one of you is out for revenge, you’re not going to be able to negotiate. Know ahead of time that if your spouse is unwilling to communicate peacefully with you, the mediator won’t be able to help you.
To work with a mediator, you should be able to sit down and create a list of issues you both agree on. This list should include child custody arrangements, splitting of assets, and handling of debts. It’s not necessary for every point to be worked out ahead of time, but the more issues you can navigate beforehand, the faster the process will go.
Understand that a mediator does not represent either one of you. A mediator simply helps the two of you to work through the issues and come to an agreement. It may take several sessions to complete this process. Following an initial consultation, the mediator will set up a schedule of appointments with you to cover what he or she believes necessary to complete the negotiation process. At the conclusion of your sessions, you will hopefully have an agreement draft which will then be presented to an attorney for review. If all goes well, your divorce can be completed in a few short weeks, saving you thousands of dollars and a lot of misery.
The mediation process is easier on everyone involved. You both get to hold on to more of your money. You avoid the hostility normally experienced in litigation, sparing you both the discomfort that can last months to years. Your children will also be spared the argument over custody, favoritism, and the experience of being caught in the middle of a fight.
Think how much easier moving on with your new life could be if you did not have to endure the horrendous experience of divorce litigation. Divorce is a highly emotional and unsetting experience no matter how you approach it, but if you can get through it in less time with less torture and for less money, everyone comes out ahead in the end.