Usually when people call to inquire about divorce mediation they underestimate the complexity of the issues involved under the circumstances of their divorce. There is the exception of a couple who has been married for a very short period of time, has held all their limited property separately, doesn’t own a home, earns similar salaries and doesn’t have children. Usually the issues are more complex than that, it is an emotionally wrought time and a well trained professional will prove invaluable in arriving an equitable resolution of your issues under the relevant law. Some of the pitfalls to trying to handle your own divorce are:
1. One spouse dominates the negotiation process. The dominant spouse generally pressures the other spouse into agreeing with his or her resolution. There are usually well-worn relationship roles that continue through the ‘negotiation’. I often hear a spouse worry that the other will ‘get mad at me’ for sticking up for him or herself.
2. One spouse has more information. That’s usually the dominant spouse as well. That spouse is pushing for quick decisions. The other spouse is generally at a disadvantage from lack of preparation and lack of information.
3. There’s no referee. The process can easily get out of hand. Having that third party in the room helps everyone stay on their best behavior and directs the process in a constructive and respectful manner.
4. The parties can easily get caught up in arguments over small details rather than considering the bigger issues. Small issues can lead to big arguments and hardening of positions for future negotiations.
5. One spouse may feel pressured. Each spouse already knows how to put pressure on their other spouse, which can easily lead to an inequitable resolution of the issues involved in their divorce.
6. The discussions can easily become heated, which can in turn result in moving the parties away from possible agreements. It’s easy to slip back into old patterns of argument when a neutral mediator isn’t present to keep the peace.
Professional advice and guidance will steer your divorce along the most constructive path to an equitable plan of action for your family and a respectful divorce process.