Is Mediation For You?

My spouse is self-employed.
My spouse inherited money and property last year.
My spouse is very secretive.
My spouse keeps threatening to get even for the affair I had last year.
The well being of our children is our primary concern.

Couples considering mediation frequently want to know whether or not they are appropriate mediation candidates. Unfortunately, far too many dismiss mediation from the beginning, calling themselves as inappropriate candidates without any consideration of the accuracy of their assessment. Then, there are the many who haven’t the vaguest idea that mediation may well be a valuable option for them.

So, let’s ask that question again: How do you determine if you and your spouse would be able to mediate?

Some couples are obvious candidates:

There is the rather large grouping who believe that their money is better spent on the family than dissipated by protracted legal negotiations and/or actions;
Those who are concerned about the long-term welfare of their children and of their continued ability to co-parent cooperatively; and
Couples who are able to consider the implications and ramifications of different options on both parties.

These couples may be less concerned about each other than about maintaining the integrity of their holdings. They believe that the marital estate should be preserved as much as possible, thereby calling for a more efficient and expeditious route to divorce.
These are couples who have significant estates, are self-employed or hold stock in closely-held or family-owned businesses and/or have inherited or gifted holdings. Wealth is not a contra indication for mediation. Indeed the wealthy often have the least difficulty with the mediation process.

Often, one of the parties is more willing to come to mediation than the other. This does not mean that the couple is inappropriate for mediation, only that the hesitant party may need the reassurance of a telephone conversation or an introductory meeting with an experienced mediator.

Most couples are good candidates for mediation, and some couples face more challenges than others, there are those that should not mediate.

Couples who should not mediate include:

Couples in which there is physical abuse, individuals who are fearful of the physical repercussions of disagreement, should not mediate.
Couples in which full financial disclosure is unlikely to be accomplished are not good mediation candidates.
Couples in which one or both parties are consumed by “getting even” and the desire for revenge are often unable to rise above their anger in order to craft an agreement. At times a particularly pragmatic party can rationally understand the limits of their options, be it in the mediation or legal forum, and therefore can mediate in spite of his/her anger.
Couples in which one individual or both parties is unable or unwilling to set aside his/her conception of the ‘deal’ to consider options which ironically may be even more favorable.
Inflexibility and a “it’s my way or no way thinking” can be detrimental to the problem solving process of mediation. A couple’s ability to mediate is usually revealed early in the process.
Individuals who appeared to be poor prospects and turned out to be able to work with their spouse to structure a fair and workable agreement. Others can only mediate if the mediator sees each one individually, working to bridge differences and facilitate the creation of a settlement.

If you and your spouse are trying to work together and need or want help negotiating some of the terms and conditions of your marital settlement agreement, then mediation is right for you. Couples owe it to themselves and to their families to at least investigate all options, including mediation.

And you don’t even have to be friends to make mediatation work! Why? Because communications are often difficult when your lives are changed by divorce, many couples simply assume that mediation will not work for them, and needlessly take their case to adversarial attorneys and to courts. The fact is, however, mediation is so successful that many judges require it as a way to avoid bringing your case to court. This is because they recognize that mediation is a very powerful tool…and, the most logical and practical approach to solving problems.

The goal of mediation is to find the best solutions for both you and your spouse, solutions that are practical and can work for both of you. You will meet in our offices – a safe, neutral location where you can work with our trained mediator, who will help guide you to a mutually beneficial agreement. Or, if you prefer, mediation can take place entirely by telephone.

Equal Access has helped numerous couples completely settle their case through mediation. We do not make decisions for you and we do not take sides. We know that “who’s right” and “who’s wrong” have nothing to do with resolving differences. We make sure that discussions remain respectful and objective, something that is often difficult for you if you are trying to work out financial arrangements on your own. Since we have worked with many couples in similar situations, we will offer ideas and solutions that may not have occurred to you…then you may choose what’s best for you.

If you are interested in finding out more about mediation, or if you want to set up an appointment, please call our friendly customer assistance representative at our Equal Access Helpline for a free consultation. We look forward to your call.