In divorce mediation, a separating couple works with a neutral mediator who assists the two parties to arrive at a settlement on every aspect of their divorce. The mediator may or may not be a lawyer, but he/she must be exceptionally experienced in divorce as well as family law. In addition, it is essential for the mediator to be unbiased and not advocate for either party. Each party still need to consult with their own, individual attorneys during the course of the mediation as well as prior to putting their signature to the ultimate divorce settlement agreement.
Here are a couple of advantages and disadvantages to give consideration to prior to choosing if mediation will work for you.
Husbands and wives frequently hear about the wonders of mediation and how it is apparently a better, less controversial, less costly and more “dignified” way to get a divorce. Nevertheless, my greatest issue with mediation is that the main role and goal of the mediator is to get the parties to arrive at an agreement. Always remember, the mediator can not render any advice. All they can do is attempt to get you to consent. Regrettably, not all agreements are great agreements, and in fact, in numerous cases, no agreement is much better than a bad agreement.
Bertus Preller studied at the universities of the Free State and Johannesburg. Bertus is an experienced mediator and arbitrator. He is the author of Everyone's Guide To Divorce and Separation, published by Random House (2013) and he writes regularly on news24.com. He is also the founder of Divorcelaws, South Africa's premier website on Family Law.