Do You Need Divorce Mediation? – Tonya MacBeth

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There's one trigger that really gives me a sense as to how a divorce is going to proceed, and surprisingly, it's the mediation question. It's not "will we go to mediation," but it is "we are going to go to mediation, and my spouse says we don't need lawyers." Well, sometimes you don't, and that's when both people are truly amicable and informed about the finances of the marriage. That means that they were partners during the marriage and created their own financial plans together and had full disclosure throughout their marriage. The reason for their divorce is not a fight about money. Those people, they may be able to do it without lawyers.

If there are questions regarding the children or alcohol or abuse, that's a different picture. But it's the other people who say, "we don't need a lawyer," and it's because they want to maintain control over the process, and they want to keep the control that they had during the marriage or attempted to have during the marriage throughout the mediation process. That is a huge red flag, and the spouses of those people generally need advice and consultation as they move through. Now, I can provide that initial consultation and give a general overview of the divorce process, or I can give a more detailed review of financial records that are brought to the consultation. I can even consult during the mediation process.

But if you put your signature on a document with the intent to divide the marital community, and the other party signs too, you could very likely be in a binding contract that would be difficult if not impossible to unwind after later having a moment of clarity.

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