Congratulations! You and your soon-to-be ex are one of the lucky few couples who aren’t headed into divorce amidst fights and tears. Many couples may find they have grown apart over time, but still consider one another as their best friend. In this case, it may not feel like you’re fighting over anything — so why not just get a DIY divorce?
Even if you don’t feel like you need the “mediation” part of divorce mediation because you and your ex already have a plan to split things amicably, hiring a divorce mediator can “future-proof” your divorce so that you stay friends. No one can see into the future, but a good divorce mediator can help you plan for bumps in the far off distance.
Consider these four reasons divorce mediation can future-proof not just your divorce agreement, but your friendly relationship with your ex:
1. Changed circumstances.
While you may feel your ex has your best interests at heart right now, it is impossible to guess what may happen in five, 10, or even 15 years. Subsequent marriages, children getting older and financial or custody situations shifting, one partner facing poor financial circumstances — all of these life events can turn friendly exes into not-so-friendly exes. Perhaps one of you stays in the home you bought together, and five years later, the other partner desperately wants to sell. Or what if one of you remarries and wants to move hundreds of miles away? How will you approach custody? Because a good divorce mediator has seen these circumstances occur time and again, they will know how to lead you and your ex through the right questions to deliver a divorce mediation agreement that can stand the test of time.
2. Getting a fair shake.
Splitting up property or a business, or creating a custody agreement, may seem simple enough on the surface, but without professional expertise, you run the risk of accidentally “cheating” one spouse by not truly understanding the value of your property, tax implications, the rights you may have to one another’s retirement accounts, or how a custody agreement might play out after a few years. When you later discover that one of you feels like they got the short end of the stick, your good relationship may end up tainted. A divorce mediator will help you find and work through these potential landmines while advising you when to get external help (like an accountant) to protect both parties.
3. Proving you’re both acting in good faith.
In our prior point, the assumption is that a mistake could cause one of you to feel they’ve been treated unfairly, it was a mistake. However, there is also a chance that your ex may be hiding assets — or perhaps they know a bit more about property or tax law than you and they use this knowledge to their advantage. Bringing in a third party to mediate your divorce (as well as hiring an attorney to check your divorce mediation agreement—a step that any good mediator will encourage) is not just a sign of good faith by both parties, but can help protect you against costly and hurtful surprises.
4. Getting what you pay for.
When you take your divorce into your own hands, that also means you’re taking responsibility for complicated paperwork. You’ll need to figure out what paperwork you need, how to fill it out properly, and when and where to file it. Make a misstep, and you’ll find you were penny-wise but pound-foolish. You may need to pay an attorney to help you untangle the mess you mistakenly create. With divorce mediation, your mediator will help you prepare all paperwork so you know exactly where to sign and deliver the papers.
Divorce mediation is like an insurance policy against making costly mistakes and preparing for future changes. Even though you and your spouse have decided to part ways, make one last commitment together: To avoid the pitfalls of a DIY divorce by hiring a divorce mediator.
Contact South Bay Mediation to set up a free consultation to discuss your divorce.