Many couples undergoing the process of splitting up and undoing the legalities around a marriage or civil partnership choose to pursue divorce mediation. It can be highly beneficial if handled correctly. Divorce mediation lawyers can guide you and your soon-to-be ex-partner or spouse through resolving your issues and making important decisions for the future. It can help avoid the costs of going to court and save a lot of time and stress.
However, like all processes of this nature, where emotions run high and there are many complex issues to discuss, things can go wrong if you are not fully prepared. Here are some common pitfalls that you should aim to avoid if you are facing the prospect of divorce mediation.
Going It Alone
You are, of course, entitled to conduct part or all of your divorce negotiations without legal representation. This may feel like a good way to save on legal fees. However, the law surrounding divorce and separation can be complex and highly nuanced. There will be multiple areas to cover, including children’s health, well-being, schooling and access arrangements; financial settlements and agreements; division of properties and assets and more.
Going into things alone can leave you vulnerable to missing out on vital details, or being pushed into agreements that may not be in your best interests if you do not have qualified divorce mediation lawyers in your corner, to help you achieve the fairest outcome for all.
Hiring Someone Substandard
Good quality legal advice and support may not come cheap, but it is worth every penny. Indeed, it could be argued that choosing a cheaper divorce mediation lawyer who doesn’t ‘know their stuff’ is far worse than going without legal support altogether. You need to feel able to rely on the advice you are given, and that your mediation lawyer has your back and is up to date on all relevant divorce law.
This really is not an area where you should be cutting corners financially. Find the best divorce mediation solicitor you can afford, read up on their feedback and reviews – and check their legal credentials before signing on the dotted line.
Getting The Timings Wrong In Divorce Mediation
Never rush into mediation. Take time to really think about what you want and need from the process. If you are on good enough terms with your soon-to-be-ex partner, meet with them or call them to discuss what they want to achieve and see if you can at least agree on a few basic things ahead of the process. If this is not possible, then make a list of your own expectations, areas where you are willing to compromise and requirements that you will not be able to budge. This will need some time, so rushing into mediation too fast after a split is instigated deprives you of the chance to do this first.
Conversely, leaving things for too long is not helpful either. Emotions can fester if they are not addressed and people can lose sight of what is important – sorting out the practicalities so that both parties can agree on what will happen and then move on with their lives. Delays can cause distress and confusion to children and other family members. They can also make the parting couple begin to forget about what they want to say and how they want to proceed.
Compromising Too Little – Or Too Much
Flexibility is the watchword here. The most successful divorce mediation lawyers are those whose clients are willing to move from their position in order to resolve the issues at hand. Being too fixed on every single detail will stall discussions and cause frustrations. Think about areas where you are happy to give a little – and what you would wish to ask for in return. Never try to hide assets, as courts do not look kindly on those who fail to disclose what they own and this could sway things against you in the end.
Equally, giving in too much to the other person could be very harmful to your future prosperity, especially if you find yourself short of financial assets to look after yourself and any dependents in the future. Hold your nerve, avoid projecting a negative or defensive attitude and calmly ask for what you need to run your new life. Avoid giving in too fast in order to save on mediation costs too – this could cause problems later on that will cost you even more to put right in terms of lawyers’ fees, court costs and emotional distress.