What Are the Most Common Mediation Myths?

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If you and your spouse are separating, you may think you need to go to court to distribute the assets, which can be a complicated procedure. However, this is not true! One of the best processes for couples is mediation. This allows you and your spouse to set the terms of your divorce through a series of conversations with the help of an unbiased third party. If you’re interested in this option, Bergen County, New Jersey divorce mediation can help you navigate the process.

Myth: Mediation is Not Legally Binding

Many assume that mediation is simply a step toward an agreement. However, this is untrue! While your mediator cannot make any decisions for you or offer legal advice, they can help facilitate the conversation to ensure each party feels respected and heard.

At the end of the process, you and your spouse will sign a written contract. This means that the terms of your divorce can and will be legally enforced. However, if you do not sign the agreement, the conditions discussed are non-binding, meaning they are not enforceable.

Myth: Mediation is Perfect for Every Couple

Unfortunately, this option is not the best for every couple. Because the process is voluntary, your spouse may not participate willingly, making mediation ineffective.

Similarly, for couples where domestic violence or abuse is present, mediation is not the right choice. This is due to the inherent power imbalance, as the victim is less likely to advocate for themself. Failure to advocate for oneself results in an unfair settlement.

This also applies to couples who cannot agree on certain terms, such as child custody or property distribution. If you and your spouse have tried mediation but are unable to come to an agreement, you will need to go before a judge. The judge will make the final decision regarding the terms of your divorce.

Myth: You Don’t Need a Lawyer

Finally, one of the most common myths is that you do not need a lawyer during mediation. While some choose to navigate this process on their own, ensuring you have competent legal counsel present is crucial. As previously mentioned, mediators cannot offer legal advice. They are limited to simply explaining the laws and facilitating the conversation.

Unfortunately, you may not understand the full implications of the agreement until it is too late.¬†Though the terms look good on paper, they may have unfavorable loopholes. Because the mediator cannot offer legal advice, it’s up to you to review the terms of the agreement before signing. However, hiring legal representation can help ensure you know what you are agreeing to.

If you are looking for an experienced attorney to help mediate your divorce, HD Family Law is the right choice. Reach out today to begin the process.

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