No two divorces ever play out in the same fashion. You have many options when it comes to ending your marriage. Mediation is one common tool people use to hammer out divorce settlements. But there are a lot of questions. What is it? What are the pros and cons of mediation? Is it right for your case? Do you need a lawyer?
Our founding partner, Rick Jones, makes regular appearances on the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show on KZOK. He answers listener questions about family law matters. On a recent episode, he fielded just this question.
Check out the conversation below:
CALLER: “I’m currently separated from my wife. Not legally separated, but we’re living apart and made a decision to get divorced. She’s pushing for us to do so through mediation, I’m assuming to save a bit of money, she’s always been a bit of a penny pincher. We’ve been married for seven years, don’t have kids, we do own a home together, I was just wondering what the pros and cons are of mediation? Should we still hire an attorney?“
RICK: “Think about it this way… I’m going to dive straight into mediation because mediation is a great tool, and it’s very often used even with attorneys on both sides because that ultimately is the two of you making your best efforts to get this thing settled short of going to trial.
“However, if you’re just jumping into mediation when you haven’t had an attorney or haven’t had counsel on your own, you’re basically getting in front of somebody that has one goal, and that’s to close the deal and get a settlement from you. They’re not there to counsel you, they’re not there to counsel her. The real key is that you need to educate yourself beforehand.
“Now, if she chooses not to educate herself, and you do educate yourself, by going to mediation you’ll probably have a leg up in it.”
DANNY: “Here’s the thing on mediation, and your particular case being, when you describe, like when you uh, if I were to describe my wife to you, ‘Aw man, she’s a big Beatles fan,” penny pincher would come way down the list, one of the first things you say about your wife is that she’s a penny pincher and you own a home together? I don’t think you can get a lawyer fast enough, and you can still do mediation. But somebody you say, ‘Aw yeah she’s a penny pincher,” and you own property together, I’d get a lawyer.”
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternate dispute resolution used in civil cases like divorce, child custody, and other family law matters. In the process, both sides work together with a third-party facilitator to reach an agreement. It can be less expensive than a trial, take less time, and be less traumatic. In the end, both spouses must agree to the terms and conditions on their own. No one passes judgment, and the mediator does not have the authority to rule on any points of contention.
If you have questions about your case, contact Goldberg Jones at our Seattle office.
Related Reading: 7 Mediation Questions Answered