Start With MediationNovember 1, 2015 7:43 am Comments Off on Start With Mediation
According to Rachel Alexander, an attorney and divorce mediator practicing in New Jersey and New York, almost all divorces end up being settled without going to trial. Still, the majority of divorcing couples spend thousands of dollars preparing for litigation that will never occur. At the same time, they fail to prepare for the settlement negotiations that will actually determine the outcome of their divorce! It’s likely that your case will end up in mediation. Why not start with mediation in the first place and save a lot of time, aggravation and money?
If you choose the mediation route, do not allow the mediator to push you into a settlement at the first meeting. Instead, get a draft of your proposed agreement and think about it for a few days. You can bring this draft to a lawyer for a consultation. (Not all lawyers will agree to be a consultant.) According to relationship expert Abby Rodman, LICSW, of Newton, Massachusetts:
It’s a good idea to get a second set of eyes on your divorce agreement before you sign. Divorce agreements can be protracted and complex. And, just like everyone else, divorce attorneys and mediators can make mistakes. Signing a divorce agreement can have lifelong implications. So don’t rush it — go get a second opinion.
There is a lot of variety in the experience and training of mediators. Choose your mediator carefully. Mediators who write sloppy agreements or miss significant details can leave you open to problems later on. However, a knowledgeable mediator can help you look at all the options and create the best plan for your family as you move from living in one house into two.