Mediation Can Be Successful Even If The Goal of Resolving All Issues Doesn't Happen.
One of the biggest concerns and questions spouses have about divorce mediation is whether it could or will be a waste of time if they don't resolve every issue. It's certainly a fair and legitimate question to ask. My response to couples is simple and straightforward: you have absolutely nothing to lose by giving it a try.
There are many issues to resolve and negotiate during a PeacefulSplit® Divorce Mediation. It's common for spouses to worry that they may not agree on all issues and mediation will be a waste of time.
In this article, Eric explains why that's not true. Mediation almost always results in a final settlement of all issues. Even when that does not happen, the spouses can still benefit from the settlement agreement resolving all the other issues, and limit a court's involvement to the one issues that was not able to be settled during mediation. Therefore, mediation is an option that almost every divorcing couple should avail themselves with the hope (and expectation) of resolving all issues in their divorce.
It's natural for couples who are planning to divorce to expect differences in their views, wants, needs and expectations. It's extremely rare for a couple to sit with me as their mediator and automatically agree on every issue.
In a PeacefulSplit® mediated divorce, I use all of my experience and skills as an attorney with 25+ years of experience, a Florida Supreme Court Certified Family Mediator and my background as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, to help spouses navigate the minefield of the Florida divorce process with the goal of resolving all issues pertaining to finances, property and their children.
In the vast majority of mediations, with my guidance and help, couples find resolutions to their complicated issues. However, even when resolution of 100% of the issues is not achieved, mediation is not a wasted experience.
In those rare cases, couples are still able to benefit from the creation of various marital settlement agreements and parenting plans reflecting settlement of their agreed upon issues. They then file for a divorce with the Court and provide the Court with the various settlement agreements that I drafted for them. However, instead of being able to tell the Court that they resolved "ALL" issues, they advise the Court that they resolved "ALMOST ALL" of their issues but need the Court to resolve the remaining contested issue(s).
Thus, even in those rare times when they could not resolve every issue, they still benefit by restricting the Court's involvement in deciding issues in their divorce to the one or two unresolved issues.
Mediation Is Not An "All-Or-Nothing" Experience!
I hear it all the time from one or both spouses: we can't communicate and don't agree on much - that's why were are getting divorce. How can mediation work?
As a trained professional across several areas of expertise, I inherently unstained the nature of divorce from both the legal and emotional perspectives. In my role of neutral mediator, I don't begin the mediation process expecting both spouses to agree on all issues. In fact, I expect they won't agree.
By not fooling myself that mediation will be a "walk-in-the-park" for the spouses nor myself, I setup the process from the very beginning to be realistic. That is key for each spouse to not walking to the first session either expecting to agree or disagree on every issue.
Almost every spouse I work speak with tells me that they are worried because their husband or wife is not reasonable and will be obstinate. That doesn't scare me. In fact, that can often be a positive for the experience because its often when people tell me that everything will be smooth sailing and both people are very reasonable, that's when they tend to struggle when conflict or challenging issues arise.
I use my decades of experience to gently and sensitively help couples come to practical, fair and often creative resolutions to their challenging issues. So long as both spouses come to the mediation process being somewhat open-minded and, most importantly, desiring to resolve the issues themselves and not having to turn over the decision-making process to a Judge who barely knows them, their needs or their children's needs, I am confident that the mediation sessions will produce resolution of all issues.
Mediation Works Best When Spouses Want To Maintain Control Of Decisions!