You may be wondering: can divorce mediation really cover all the topics and resolve all the issues that are crucial to the legal separation of my spouse and I?
The good news is that mediation can address any issue involved in a divorce, including child support, spousal support, custody, and the division of assets, property, debt, and other responsibilities. However, mediation cannot always guarantee a specific outcome, as it takes both parties to be good candidates for mediation in order for issues to be resolved peacefully on mutual terms. To understand what makes spouses good candidates for mediation and what questions to ask yourselves when considering mediation, click here to read “Is Mediation Right For Our Divorce?
How Are Issues Resolved In Mediation?
A lawyer represents and advocates for their individual client only, honoring their fiduciary duty to zealously represent their client. In a traditional divorce, each spouse retains their own attorney to negotiate on their behalf—if the parties cannot arrive at a settlement, they will proceed to divorce litigation in family court.
In mediation, a neutral and independent third party facilitates negotiations between the two spouses directly. While each spouse may (but is not required) consult with their own individual attorney, the negotiation itself is not done by the lawyers, nor is any of the process in the presence of a judge. Rather, face-to-face discussions between the spouses are facilitated by the mediator in the privacy of the mediator’s office. By skipping the stress of back-and-forth and courtroom drama, the spouses are given the opportunity to resolve their issues privately and amicably, with less pressure, lower expenses, and more flexibility than what can otherwise feel like an outright legal battle. Mediation is a much more collaborative approach.
How Does Mediation Work If My Spouse Has Financial Secrets?
You may also be wondering how to proceed if there hasn’t been transparency or equal knowledge between you and your spouse, especially regarding the concern of finances. After all, financial infidelity is more common than you might think.
You do not want to enter into a divorce feeling as though you are at a disadvantage, without equal ground. It is fair to let your mediator know right from the beginning that you believe there to be informational asymmetry. A master mediator will ensure that the “discovery” phase of mediation thoroughly addresses the finances of your marriage so that both of you will feel equally prepared to enter negotiations. Master mediator Colleen McNamee has even discovered cases of financial infidelity and financial fraud through her discovery and work in mediating high net-worth spouses.
If your mediator does not have the expertise to help you achieve an equal understanding of the finances of your marriage, you may wish to consult with a financial professional, such as a Certified Financial Planner or CPA.
Can Mediation Be Used Against Me In Court?
Spouses and the mediator should sign a legally binding confidentiality agreement, specifying that all statements made during mediation are considered privileged communications that cannot be referenced or shown in court.
Resolve Amicably Through Divorce Mediation
If you have any questions about divorce mediation, give McNamee Mediations a call today to help you move forward.
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Colleen McNamee is a certified master divorce mediator and the CEO of McNamee Mediations, a leading mediation firm in Orange County, California. With her extensive experience and renowned expertise, Colleen McNamee helps couples peacefully resolve disputes and settle their divorces. To learn more, read Meet ‘Bomb Defuser’ Colleen McNamee, CEO Of McNamee Mediations.