When it comes to divorce, there can be so many different opinions that you may find yourself overwhelmed. Friends may say you have to take your soon-to-be-ex to court, while others may advise you to avoid the courtroom at all costs.
Divorce mediation is an increasingly popular option for couples who want to move through the divorce process in a way that helps them find collaborative solutions. Not all divorces have to be bitter and drawn-out battles. However, there are several myths about mediation that may steer people away from this option before they have the chance to really learn how it works. Inform yourself about the misconceptions surrounding mediation so you can make the most informed choice for your divorce.
1. Mediation only works if you already get along with your ex
A common misconception surrounding mediation is that it is only an option for couples already getting along. This is an important myth to understand because the very nature of divorce leads most couples to be at odds with each other when they separate. However, just because you and your ex are not getting along or are in conflict does not mean you are not possible candidates for a divorce mediation process. Mediators are professionals who have training aimed specifically at helping couples to find shared solutions when they are not in agreement. So, rather than avoiding mediation if in conflict with your ex, you should explore it as a way to avoid further escalating the conflict.
2. Mediation is not legally binding
Mediation is not just a negotiation that takes place outside the courtroom. A proper mediation process leads a couple to a customized divorce agreement that is legally binding once you register it in court. You can register your agreement online or take it to the court yourself. While the mediation session does not render the agreement legally binding, the session does provide you with an agreement you can then present to the courts without ever having to litigate your case before a judge.
3. Mediation only concerns assets, not child custody
The divorce mediation process covers all aspects you would normally cover in a court-litigated divorce. That means you come to an agreement not only on assets, property and financial aspects of the divorce, but if you have children, you also work out a custody agreement that works under the laws in force in your state. The best part about mediating child custody agreements is you and your ex get to keep control of the decision-making surrounding your family, which is better than letting a judge rule on custody matters.