Mediation is a newer term in the family law arena. It is being looked into by couples desperate to discover a better way to get through their divorce without the fear, expense and stress that is escalated with the use of lawyers. This makes absolutely sense. You too would likely desire to preserve your hard-earned money, to help your family survive the divorce with as little stress and anxiety as possible and minimize the impact on your children, wouldn't you? The mediation concept appears to offer an alternative to the dreaded legal system. Our human nature naturally drives us towards solutions that offer the least amount of pain. Honestly, there is no method that can absolutely make this process pain-free.
Experiences & Cost
I used a mediator in my divorce. The mediator, a child psychologist/mediator, asked me why it failed, why my ex refused to return to mediation sessions. My experience and response was that both partners must understand the process, what the mediator can and cannot do and be fully committed to that process, otherwise it simply cannot work. My partner felt mediation was a waste of time and money when he realized that we still had to engage lawyers after mediation and that the mediator was powerless to make decisions. A good friend of mine told me she was initially quite happy with the fact that she had used a mediator, but was surprised at the end to then be told they had to hire two lawyers to review the document prepared by the mediator. She became further distressed when the lawyer attempted to challenge and make issue of some of the clauses they had agreed to in mediation. She wondered why they had gone to mediation. Their intent was to find an option that spared them the emotional and financial expense. To their surprise, they found that this was not going to be the case. Others have told me that their mediation took a format similar to that of on-going counselling to the tune of approx.. $17,000 and surprised they are still not settled with an agreement.
What is clear is that to avoid surprises, you must be informed on what services meet your particular needs. First, you need to be clear as to whether you believe that it is possible and desirable for you and your ex to be, for the most part, amicable and reasonable with each other. Second, you need to know the exact steps involved in the divorce option you have chosen, the professionals involved and the exact cost. I guarantee that the time spent answering these questions and finding the right solution for you will benefit you immensely financially and emotionally today and well into your future. How you begin a process (amicable) is how it continues (amicable).