Private Divorce Mediation typically describes the instance where spouses agree to negotiate, before they file a petition for divorce or shortly after filing, the terms of their divorce using a mediator. This process works for many couples and the reasons aren’t always the same.
However, there are three common reasons that Private Divorce Mediation Works:
1. The couple is prepared to talk turkey.
It is impossible to negotiate or agree to anything when you don’t know what you’re talking about. Private Divorce Mediation works well for couples who have taken some time to take an inventory of assets and debts, what it will cost to live separately (if they’re not already living apart), and run multiple scenarios of what they believe would be a fair deal. Divorcing parents also fare well when they’ve taken time to consider the costs of co-parenting, the logistics of visitation, what health insurance will cost for the kids, and have gotten information about the legal obligations and formulas related to child support. When couples have no idea what an apartment or child care costs, the mediation can spend time obtaining that information at the mediator’s hourly rate and decisions can still be made, but the exercise can trigger emotional responses that set the discussions back.
2. The couple has used attorneys wisely.
Divorce attorneys are most frequently used in three ways: projects (like reviewing an agreement, drafting a will, settlement negotiations/mediation, etc.), consultation (providing information about your situation in the legal context), and retained for litigation (usually meaning paying a retainer and paying the attorney an hourly fee to handle all aspects of the litigation).
Spouses who have “purchased” a few hours of consultation with an attorney before getting too deep into the divorce process are likely to have a much better experience because they are informed and aren’t going to make rookie mistakes (e.g., believing that they are entitled to an inheritance from their rich mother-in-law who is still living, sole custody of their child is a trophy that makes them a “better parent than the other,” etc.). In some cases, couples can get the best bang for their buck by consulting an attorney, then mediating a tentative settlement agreement, and then go back to the attorney to review the tentative agreement for “approval” and filing with a court.
Getting good legal information is critical to avoiding costly missteps and to negotiating from a position of confidence in Private Divorce Mediation. And, certainly, the attorney is always invited to be at mediation!
3. The couple is more interested in moving forward than in fighting.
Private Divorce Mediation is a process where the mediator will facilitate discussions being focused on attacking the issues of divorce rather than on attacking each other. However, the emotional progression of divorce (denial, bargaining, anger and acceptance) plays a prominent role in whether emotions will prevent productive discussions to occur. In short, there typically needs to be a healthy portion of “acceptance” or enough acceptance on both sides of the table for Private Divorce Mediation to work.
Couples who are no longer living together often are living the reality of a future apart. They have already faced and addressed changes associated with divorce and have them behind them (e.g., they know what it will cost to live alone, etc.). As such, many of the fears sparked by change are no longer flashing and those emotions are less likely to derail discussions about the terms of the divorce.
One Mediation offers Private Divorce Mediation services in Atlanta, Georgia through a panel of experienced, professional divorce mediators. Visit us online at http://www.onemediation.com for more information about divorce mediation, seminars, and appointments.