At Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. in Denver, I know that overcoming objections to mediation can be difficult. One party is all for it while the other is hesitant to participate simply because he or she doesn’t understand the benefits. Typically, once this individual understands that mediation can actually make the divorce process smoother, more private, and less expensive, that person is quite willing to engage in the process.
If you are interested in mediation, but your spouse is reluctant, take a look at some common misunderstandings that people have of the mediation process. With this information, you may be able to work towards overcoming objections to mediation.
They feel your communication breakdown will prevent reaching an agreement.
If communication is a problem in your marriage (and it often is), I can guide the conversation and provide the structure needed to help the mediation process along. I will help both parties avoid falling into negative behavior patterns, and I will facilitate positive, respectful communication. Together, we’ll work towards a divorce agreement that both parties can readily accept.
If children are involved, mediation can be a very constructive way to address the emotional health and well-being of your children, as well as living arrangements, parenting time, school, and medical issues. My experience with successful mediation shows that there are healthy ways for spouses who don’t agree to reach agreements that will help them get through a very difficult situation and move on with their lives.
They don’t want the divorce.
Sometimes a spouse holds a grudge. If you’re the one that wanted the divorce, for whatever reason, the other person’s hesitancy may simply be because you suggested it. We can often succeed at overcoming objections to mediation by showing your spouse what’s in it for him/her, including a process that isn’t adversarial, more control over the outcome, more privacy, and lower litigation costs.
They believe your financial situation is too complex for mediation.
As an attorney mediator, I have experience in dealing with a variety of very complex financial situations. My goal is to help you both find ways to achieve an equitable division of assets. We can discuss tax issues, assets and debts, investments, retirement accounts, and much more. Together, we’ll walk through your finances and determine the next steps.
They think it involves therapy.
Mediation is not therapy. It is an alternative to the courtroom proceedings for a divorce. I will help both parties communicate with each other during this mutual problem-solving process. The goal is to work together to find solutions to which you can both agree, instead of allowing a judge to make these important decisions for you. I will provide guidance, structure and suggestions for open, effective communication, but it will ultimately be up to you and your spouse to work through your emotions so that the process can move forward. There is no therapy involved.
They are afraid you will hide assets.
It doesn’t matter if you navigate your divorce through mediation or a courtroom; there are no guarantees that both spouses will disclose all of their assets. However, I’ve observed that mediation and good communication usually generates more openness in both parties. If a spouse does hide assets, the other spouse has legal rights to pursue action.
They think that they can’t receive help or advice from an attorney if they mediate.
As a mediator, I do not represent one side. My goal is to remain neutral and help both parties reach a consensus on important marital concerns like financial, parenting and legal matters. I will explain the process and the issues, then guide you both as you work toward an agreement. However, both spouses have the right to have an attorney involved as much or as little as desired. Each of you has the right to have an attorney review any agreement before it is signed. Mediation and attorney input are not mutually exclusive.
If you or your spouse has questions or concerns about mediation, please contact me at Elizabeth Henson, Attorney Mediator, P.C. in Denver. We can begin overcoming objections to mediation by discussing the process and how it benefits both sides. Once everyone is comfortable with the process, we’ll move forward with creating an equitable agreement that enables both of you to move on with your separate lives.
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