Are You and Your Spouse Candidates for Mediation?
In order for a mediation of an Orange County divorce to be successful, the parties must both be good “candidates” for the mediation process. Being a good “candidate” generally means that both parties:
- ARE WILLING TO ALLOW THE OTHER PERSON TO RECEIVE 51% OF THE ASSETS;
- Do not have a psychological need to WIN;
- Trust each other. Divorce mediation is not a process designed to verify facts, investigate financial issues and question suspect expenditures. If there is a lack of trust, divorce mediation is not the correct model;
- Are not hostile personality types. If one party is essentially a bully, mediation will not be “successful,” unless the other party simply gives in to the bully. In that case, the divorce mediation is “successful” because it resolved the issues, not because a fair settlement was agreed to;
- Are both ready to end the relationship. If both people are not ready to move on with life, divorce mediation will be a waste of time and money. A divorce mediator does not have the power to force a settlement. To reach an agreement both people must have a desire to reach a fair resolution on all issues;
- Are both ready to resolve the issues. If either party is angry with the other or has a need to delay the resolution, divorce mediation will most likely not be successful. Anger on the part of a spouse makes mediation, essentially, a non-starter;
- Have not been victims of domestic violence or abuse in the relationship;
- Have essentially equal personal power in the relationship. Divorce mediation involves negotiation. Generally, the parties do not have lawyers physically present in the divorce mediation sessions and thus the party with more power and better negotiating skills prevails.
- Have essentially equal access to, and understanding of, the finances. Except in the area of child custody, a divorce is a financial transaction. The party with less knowledge and less experience with financial issues is at a severe disadvantage in divorce mediation. Failing to understand the financial aspects of a divorce may result in the receipt of less child support and less spousal support than should have been agreed to, and may result in an unequal property settlement.
- Define “fair” in a similar way. Many people proclaim a desire to want a “fair” deal, but differ in how they define the concept of “fair.” In fact, the definition can be, and usually is, extraordinarily different in the context of a divorce.