Is Divorce Mediation the Right Choice?

Couples who decide to go through divorce proceedings in New York have a lot of decisions to make regarding asset and debt division, living situations, child custody and support. Another decision they must make is whether to use litigation or mediation. Some couples choose divorce mediation because it is typically less emotionally stressful, more affordable and it is usually a faster process. However, it is also important to understand when mediation may not be the best choice. People who do choose this method should know what to expect so they can prepare correctly. 

Family Education outlines some circumstances in which couples should avoid mediation. There are some general questions that couples should ask themselves before choosing mediation. These include:

  • Are we good at communicating, even about tough topics?
  • Is divorce something we both want?
  • Are we able to be flexible and negotiate? 

If the answer to any of these is no, the couple should choose another path. There are also specific situations in which mediation would not be good. One is if one spouse does not know what assets, income or debts they have. A mediator is not able to make either spouse hand over this information, but a judge can. Other times to avoid mediation is in abusive or controlling relationships, or when there is intense anger or hostility.

For couples who choose mediation, Money Crashers outlines some tips and advice to make sure the process goes smoothly. Not all mediators have the same qualifications, so couples should shop around for someone with experience. The mediator will then schedule a series of sessions along with agenda items. Each spouse should prepare for these sessions by gathering all agenda-related information and paperwork. Each partner should also enter each session with an open mind and a willingness to communicate and negotiate for a fair agreement.