I’ve been a trained mediator since 2012. At the beginning of this process, I quickly came to the conclusion that mediating can be difficult work. It can sometime get as heated as litigation and as someone whose heart starts pounding with anxiety if voices begin to raise, I really had to prepare myself! I also prefer my work as a financial neutral
for both parties in a divorce because this is where their best solutions come to the surface. The financial neutral work also lead me to the second major conclusion; mediation is by far, the right choice for a couple to negotiate their divorce settlement and litigation is almost never the best option.
Before training as a mediator, my own divorce started as a do-it-yourself divorce. Unfortunately, I made numerous, large errors in the original paperwork because you don’t know what you don’t know. As so often happens, the cooperative attitude during the process also quickly faded after the divorce was final. We went back to court twice in litigated cases that nearly drained me of both financial and emotional resources. I now understand that in a litigated divorce, everyone loses. It costs a fortune, takes forever, and decisions are left to a judge who doesn’t know you or your situation and really doesn’t give a darn either. Life-changing decisions are made in a couple of hours and you may or may not get a chance to even explain your side. It’s brutal, demeaning, adversarial, and ultimately largely disappointing.
After having participated in this process for more than 6 years now, I strongly encourage clients to try mediation
. It promotes understanding, outcomes that work for everyone, and removes the limitations that might otherwise be imposed by overly restrictive laws. A mediated divorce settlement has the opportunity to be whatever works for the parties and their children for everyone’s best interests. It saves literally tens of thousands of dollars in costs and preserves a working relationship that can extend post-divorce. The inherently adversarial nature of a litigated divorce often destroys any respect the parties had for each other by the time the decree is finalized.
If you’re considering divorce, make every effort possible to attempt mediation to work out the details. At Smarter Divorce Solutions
our process includes a financial neutral/mediator like me to ensure full education for both of you. A good mediator will always recommend that you have any documents reviewed by an attorney before filing and you should absolutely take that advice! As I always say, you only have one opportunity to get it right and you can’t afford to make mistakes. But you CAN make the process respectful and efficient and some form of alternative dispute resolution is, in my opinion and experience, the only way to go!