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Don't fall for these misconceptions about mediation

Mediation can be a very opportune way for couples in Rhode Island to settle their divorce. This may be especially true for couples who want to have an amicable split. Moreover, divorce mediation gives couples more control of the outcome of their divorce, and unlike traditional litigation, mediated divorce settlements remain mostly private. Yet, for all the good mediation can do, there are some common misconceptions about the process that couples may have that could cause them to question whether mediation is right for them.

One misconception is that the mediator is going to take sides. For example, individuals may fear that if the mediator is a woman, she will take the wife's side or vice versa. However, these misconceptions are not true. A mediator is a neutral entity and is not a decision-maker. Couples will work together with the guidance of the mediator to overcome their disagreements and reach a solution that allows them to move forward. If a spouse wants an advocate during the mediation process, they can always hire an attorney. 

In addition, individuals may be tempted to turn to the Internet to try to learn more about divorce laws. However, the law is nuanced and ever-changing, so it is important not to head into the mediation process with misconceptions about what you think you are entitled to. 

Since mediators cannot give either side legal advice, a client may wish to consult with a family law attorney between mediation sessions.  

Finally, even a high-conflict or high-asset divorce can be mediated. Mediation in general is meant to reach a settlement with regard to child custody, child support, spousal support and property division. Mediators can help couples reach solutions to all of these legal issues no matter what the couple's net worth is. If needed, in addition to retaining an attorney, outside experts can be consulted if a certain legal issue is complex, or the valuation of a home or business is concerned.

As this shows, mediation is one tool for couples who want to negotiate their divorce out-of-court. In the end, it is important that a fair and appropriate solution be reached, whether it is mediated or otherwise.

Source: The Good Men Project, "5 Myths About Divorce Mediation," Arianna Jeret, Sept. 28, 2015 

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