10 Pitfalls of Divorce Mediation You Need to Be Aware Of
Divorce mediation is supposed to be a civilized way to end a marriage. But, unfortunately, anyone who’s been through a divorce knows that things can go wrong in many ways. So, as a mediator who’s seen it all, compiling a list of the top 10 things that can go wrong in divorce mediation would be fun. So, grab a glass of wine (or two), and let’s dive in!
1. They Start Fighting…Again
One of the main reasons people choose mediation over litigation is to avoid the fighting that often comes with divorce. However, old habits die hard, and some couples just can’t resist getting into it once again. As a mediator, my job is to keep the peace, but when the exes start going at it, I feel like I’m back in high school trying to break up a fight.
2. The Mediator Becomes a Therapist
Sometimes, people need to vent, and that’s okay. But it can be hard to get back on track when a mediation turns into a therapy session. I’m happy to listen and offer support, but at some point, we need to get back to the business at hand.
3. The Couple Can’t Agree on Anything
One of the main goals of mediation is to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. However, some couples can’t agree on anything. It can be frustrating to watch, especially when arguing over something as small as who gets the toaster.
4. The Couple Brings Their Kids
Divorce can be challenging for children, and some couples think it’s a good idea to bring them to mediation to show that they’re still a family. Unfortunately, while the intention sounds like a good idea, it usually becomes a disaster. The kids get bored and restless, and the parents get distracted trying to keep them entertained. You should never bring your children to a mediation.
5. The Couple Brings Their Pets
I love animals as much as the next person, but mediation is not their place. I’ve had dogs bark in the background, cats jump on the computer, and even a parrot start squawking in the middle of a session. Needless to say, it can be distracting.
6. The Couple Can’t Stop Texting
In today’s world, it’s easy to stay connected via text message. However, when a couple can’t stop texting during mediation, it can be a problem. Not only is it distracting, but it can also lead to miscommunication and misunderstandings. It may give the impression that you don’t think the mediation is important.
7. The Couple Gets Lost in the Details
When it comes to divorce, the devil is in the details. However, some couples get so bogged down in the minutiae that they can’t see the big picture. It’s important to remember what’s really important and not get lost in the weeds.
8. The Couple Starts Negotiating Against Themselves
Negotiating is a tricky business, especially when emotions are running high. Some couples start negotiating against themselves, offering up more than they should to make the other person happy. It’s essential to clearly understand what you want and what you’re willing to compromise on. Discuss with your attorney, then leave the negotiating to the attorneys.
9. The Couple Brings Their New Partners
Divorce can be a lonely time, and some couples move on quickly. However, bringing their new partners to mediation can be a recipe for disaster. The old wounds are fresh, and the new partner can be seen as a threat.
10. The Couple Realizes They Still Love Each Other
This is the ultimate plot twist in a mediation. Sometimes, amid all the arguing and negotiating, a couple realizes they still love each other. It’s a beautiful thing, but it can also throw a wrench in the whole process.
While it may seem like a happy ending, it can complicate matters and make it harder for the couple to move on. As a mediator, I always encourage couples to take a step back and evaluate their feelings before making rash decisions.
Sometimes, love isn’t enough to sustain a healthy and happy relationship, and it’s important to remember why the divorce was initiated in the first place. Ultimately, it’s up to the couple to decide what’s best for them and their future. Mediation and Collaborative Divorces do just that. Despite the bumps in the road, it is the best way for couples to restructure their lives.