Tips for Getting Your Spouse On Board with Mediation

Whether through Levine Family Law Group, mediation with a trained counselor or a divorce financial planner, can be a great option for resolving the issues pertaining to your divorce. At Hello Divorce, we recommend LFLG not only because they not only guide you through the negotiation process, they prepare your divorce judgment and all the mandatory documents that go with it. Learn more about LFLG mediation created specifically for the Hello Divorce approach.

Mediation works best for separating couples who share the common goals of reaching a resolution that feels fair, and saves time and money. Most important, both spouses must be able to act in good faith and be transparent with finances. If you have made up your mind that mediation is the best option for you, consider sharing the information below with your spouse in an attempt to get her or him to “see the light” and get past their reservations.

Some of the feedback we’ve heard about why one spouse is hesitant about mediation include: it’s a waste of money/time (“we can do this on our own”); it’s too much time to be in the same room; “I can get a better result if I go in front of a judge” (usually a bluff); too far apart in positions; it’s too hard to coordinate schedules; or “I need financial support now and can’t wait to see if mediation works.”

Not Doing It Will Cost More

For the spouse who says it’s a waste of time and money, point them to national statistics that estimate the average cost of divorce (per person) is approximately $15,000 (with California likely averaging much more). If your divorce proceeds to court, expect fees to go up dramatically with costs for experts and court reporters added to that. Mediation with an experienced mediator usually totals around $3,000 – $4,000 per person and includes everything from the actual negotiating piece to the preparation, filing and service of all required (and optional) pleadings (documents).

Mediators can save both of you lots of time and money since you don’t have to learn how to navigate the complicated divorce process and sessions are focused on issues that matter since ground rules are instituted to keep your eyes on the prize. Any agreements you reach in mediation are reduced to writing and can be filed with the court to become an enforceable order.

Don’t Want to Be in the Same Room? No Problem

Many mediators offer effective services outside the conference room. We offer mediation by video conferencing or telephone. Some mediators offer a ‘caucus’ approach – shuffling back and forth between both of you so you never are together.

That being said, if you do meet in the same room, having a mediator in the room generally can help all parties to be stay calm and speak in a respectful manner. Most people behave better when there is a neutral third person in the room, if for no other reason than they don’t want to look like a jerk.

In Court, Things Are out of Your Hands

No matter how compelling you believe your story to be, judges still have laws to follow and they don’t always provide for the relief you want. So for example, if you want to pay less support since your spouse has been spending money for their own benefit instead of the kids’ – good luck.

Judges do not micromanage child support payments. Additionally, if you don’t follow procedure, your requests won’t be ruled on anyhow. Finally, judges have lots of discretion on certain issues and certainly do not always see things the same way you do!

“I See Day, They See Night”

Don’t let your differences keep you from mediating – but DO suggest someone who specializes in high conflict and outside-the-box techniques for conflict resolution.

Now What?

Need financial help or a parenting schedule now? Ask a mediator to help you with temporary agreements pending full resolution of issues. If you worry mediation won’t work, try filing a Request for Orders in court and obtain a ‘just in case’ court date. The two of you can always continue or dismiss the hearing if you come to an agreement.

LFLG mediation services take each of these tips into consideration and make mediation even more convenient. You get to decide when you will meet and whether it will be by phone, video conferencing or, if you’re in the Bay Area, in person. Learn more about LFLG mediation.

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