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THE 4 MOST COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DIVORCE MEDIATION

Divorce Mediation is the most sensible approach to settling disputes; it is even when people are divorcing. Compared to litigation, mediation is less time consuming, more affordable and much less emotionally draining and stressful. Most people are not very familiar with the process of divorce mediation as an alternative dispute resolution method. The lack of knowledge about mediation in general can lead to misconceptions and misunderstandings about the process of divorce mediation in particular.

Some of the most common misconceptions about divorce mediation include the following:

1. Mediators are normally biased (for or against one party or the other)

This is completely incorrect. The mediator is a neutral third party and is not an advocate for either side. The mediator is expected and required to be neutral and impartial throughout the entire mediation process. He or she is the voice of reason for both parties and not just one party. The mediator’s job is simply to help both parties come up with the most sensible and workable resolution of all issues related to their divorce that both people can live with going forward.
The mediator helps to resolve the disputes between the parties in a peaceful way and is neutral throughout the entire mediation process. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong. His or her job and role is to help both parties resolve their differences and come to an agreement so that a judge does not have to decide things for them.

2. Mediation results in a 50/50 split of assets and debts

This is another incorrect thought about mediation.
If both parties are able to think clearly and be reasonable, mediation is usually successful because it allows since the parties to decide how their assets and debts are split between them. This simply means that both people have the opportunity to provide valuable input to their attorneys and the mediator about the details of their unique, individual financial situation.
In most cases, the mediator will guide both parties to reach an equitable distribution in the most fair way possible. Equitable distribution is a legal term that entails the apportioning of the marital assets and marital debts as part of the divorce. The whole idea behind equitable distribution is that the marital assets and debts be distributed it means “fair” division rather than a strict fifty-fifty split.

3. Loss of certain rights for unfaithful partners

Mediation is usually very successful if spouses are able to agree on the division of the marital assets and debts. The notion that certain rights are lost if a party has been accused of being in an adulterous relationship is incorrect. Florida is a no-fault divorce state, and mediation involves the same laws as those followed by the court during litigation. Because of this, mediation provides both parties an equal platform to amicably resolve all the issues related to their marriage.

4. There is no need to have an attorney during divorce mediation.

This is false. Couples seeking a divorce through mediation are actually encouraged to have an attorney with them at mediation to give legal advice, provide legal opinions, and review and make changes, if needed, to the settlement documents prepared by the mediators. Mediators cannot give legal advice or provide legal opinions to either party. Having an attorney with you at mediation ensures that your best interests are being safeguarded.

Wendy Norman is a divorce attorney in Jacksonville, FL. To schedule a free, initial consultation, please call our office at 904.306.9926 or contact us online.

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