One misconception about mediation is that spouses sometimes think that mediation will only work if they get along with their spouse. While parties who are amicable with one another do make excellent mediation candidates, the only real requirement is a desire to put in an honest effort towards reaching an agreement with one another. Even parties who didn’t believe this was possible but made the decision to give it a try, have surprisingly found themselves avoiding litigation.
Another misconception is the belief that by mediating their case, the parties must forgo legal representation. While it’s true that mediators are neutral parties and do not legally “represent” either party in the resolution, parties are still able to hire their own legal representation and can have their attorney be present during the negotiations. At the minimum, any good mediator will recommend both parties have any proposed agreement reviewed by an independent attorney.
Lastly, some fear mediation because they don’t want to pay the cost of hiring a mediator under the false belief that this will result in a more expensive divorce. In fact, mediators usually not only save an enormous amount of time by avoiding long, drawn out court dates, but they can also save you a great amount of money. If the mediation is successful, parties may save themselves thousands of dollars by eliminating the need to pay their attorneys for several hours of analyzing their paperwork, arguing with opposing counsel about why their clients’ requests are more reasonable than the others, and then making multiple court appearances in an effort to convince the judge of the same. Due to how busy the courts are, an attorney appearance can take several hours, even over the course of multiple days.
While not every mediation is successful, it can often be determined early on if mediation is right for you. With a high success rate, it’s worth the effort of giving it the benefit of the doubt. In the end it could save you thousands of dollars and allow you the integrity of knowing you were able to work with your spouse to come to an amenable solution. Especially in cases involving children, this can help set you up for a more constructive co-parenting relationship moving forward despite the divorce.
Authored by IRWIN & IRWIN.
IRWIN & IRWIN Family Law is located in Fullerton and Newport Beach, California. We provide a full suite of family law services from divorce litigation, divorce mediation, child custody issues, domestic violence restraining orders and representing minors in court. “Every situation is different, and some come with very complex financial issues. Our legal team is here to support you during a very troubling time and prepare you for court, or to at least help negotiate or mediate the issues out to establish an equitable legal resolution,” says Kelly Irwin, Senior Litigator at the firm.