Can Divorce Mediation Work for You?

Can Divorce Mediation Work for You?

Avoiding the cost and trauma of litigation

Despite every good intention, sometimes the Divorce process stalls. It may be that a couple can’t agree on an equitable division of property or child support. We’re finding that it is often a matter of a couple’s just being overwhelmed with the task of dividing their lives, and they need additional guidance.

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Here’s a good example: For one recent couple, married for 20 years, their assets included a business, home, stock portfolio, timeshare, life insurance policy and annuities. They were both close to their twin teenagers. This couple wasn’t fighting and they didn’t see themselves as candidates for litigation. Rather, they wanted outside guidance to help structure an equitable division of their rather complicated lives.


Common Mediation misconceptions:

1. Mediation won’t work in high-conflict cases

Nearly any Divorce case is suitable for mediation. Mediation is ideal for couples who are amicable, but it also is well suited to helping high-conflict couples work through their differences and come to a reasonable solution.  


We’re a trained, neutral third party, experienced in helping couples stay focused on the issues at hand, avoiding emotional triggers or reliving incidents that cause conflict. In some cases, it can be helpful to include a marriage or family therapist whose job it is to facilitate communication around the emotional roadblocks to get the mediation process back on track.


2. The Mediator makes decisions for you

There’s a false belief that the Mediator will act as a quasi-judge and tell people what they are going to do. Here’s the reality: Each couple retains control over every decision. Contrast this with litigation, where a judge, a complete stranger in a black robe, imposes orders and judgments on the divorcing parties. 


It’s the Mediator’s role to support each party equally. The Mediator helps identify all of the issues and gives couples enough information so they can decide what is the best action for them. 


Here’s the real power of Mediation

When people reach agreements together, based upon what they think is right and fair, their agreements are much more sustainable than the court orders that tell the parties what they must do.


3. You don’t need a lawyer if you are mediating your Divorce

Because Mediators must remain neutral, they cannot give individual advice because that would be against the interests of the other party. In these kinds of cases, it can be advisable to consult an attorney on a limited, as-needed basis to provide specific legal advice to help a party decide how to best move forward in the negotiations. 


This consultation helps clients make more informed decisions and moves the Mediation forward. At the point when the parties have finalized all their agreements and a draft Separation Agreement is prepared, it is advisable that both parties review that agreement with their own attorneys before signing it. This document will have lasting impact on their finances, their children and their lives for the foreseeable feature. A final review with an attorney is an important investment.


Keep in mind that the Mediation format is adaptable and collaborative

Mediation is based on negotiation and compromise. Think about what’s really important to you. What’s a must-have vs a nice-to- have? Many Mediation couples end up improving communication, which they’ll need as they work together to raise their children.


Guideway’s Guided Divorce

Guided Divorce is our more comprehensive divorce solution. Clients work with our trained, neutral third-party Mediators. We meet together in an atmosphere of cooperation and mutual respect. Both parties must be our clients and must be willing to listen and compromise. Over the course of a regimented process, we will guide you through the entire process and help you come to a satisfactory mediated conclusion.


Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.