Mediating a divorce is a delicate process. You have two parties that may or may not be hostile to each other, and you’re trying to get them to communicate and come to mutual conclusions. Still, divorce mediation services have helped many divorcing couples and families come to agreeable conclusions and feel empowered. Should you mediate your divorce? The answer is almost always ‘yes’, mediation is worth a try when you’re divorcing your significant other. But you should be aware of the services that mediators CANNOT do for you.
Mediators aren’t therapists.
Many emotions come with the divorce process. It’s natural to have a difficult time working through those emotions. You’ll want to speak with someone and have them listen, give perspective, and help you heal. A mediator is typically not that person. Their expertise lies in mediating a divorce, not psychotherapy. If you feel you need a session or two of simple therapy to work through your situation, make sure you seek out the proper professional.
They can’t know the full dynamic of your family.
Mediators are often good at reading people and understanding the basics of human circumstances. They can get a decent idea of your family, and give an opinion on what sort of post-divorce family plan may work for you. They know the statistics, such as 75% of children of divorced couples live with their mother. But they cannot understand the complete dynamic of your family. No mediator will be able to definitively tell you what option will be best for your child or your partner’s aging parent. Take their advice into consideration, but don’t be afraid to correct and clarify if they seem to misunderstand something. They want to be as accurate and informed as possible to help you reach an appropriate decision.
Mediators aren’t judges, and can’t force you to do anything.
If you or your former spouse are keen on delaying the mediation process, there isn’t much a mediator can do to stop you. Although they’re often affiliated with the justice system, mediators aren’t judges. They are not presiding over your divorce case. They cannot legally force either of you to make any decisions or perform any actions.
Remember, mediating a divorce is a great thing. Mediators are experienced professionals who want to help you. But like any professional, they work within a certain scope. You wouldn’t ask your foot doctor to check out an ear infection, right? If you’re uncertain what kind of services your mediator offers, ask them for a thorough explanation.