Reasons Not To Mediate Number One

Perhaps people’s main reason not to mediate, indeed not to seek any professional help at all, is that they can sort things out themselves thank you. They can of course and I understand what drives them. One is the fear of paying costs. The other, and maybe just as important, is a sense of autonomy. Who asks for help on running their personal financial affairs? We are all grown ups after all. Why should getting divorced or separating be any different? Add to that the pervading societal message that we are all our own experts these days with the help of the internet.

That couples who are divorcing don’t seek help is borne out by the number of divorces in the last recorded full year and the fact that only just over 25% of those divorces had a linked financial order. Some people it’s true have nothing worth the paper an order is written on- but then neither did Mr & Mrs Ecotricity when they divorced! However I suspect that for most they simply reach their own agreement but never make it legally enforceable. Any family lawyer or mediator has seen the results years down the line.

We agreed to sell the house when the youngest left school. Well that’s probably the case but many people then come a cropper when they actually want the house to be sold only to be met by a refusal to do so and there’s no court order to enforce. Don’t get me going on what I suspect may be a pension claim time bomb where claims emerge as retirement approaches.

The fact also is that internet knowledge isn’t the same as the broad range of expertise in the field which a professional has, whether a mediator or lawyer.

If your reason not to mediate is that you can do it yourselves, there are inherent dangers, particularly if the terms aren’t translated into a court order. There are costs involved in mediation but, set against the amounts actually involved in terms of house equity and pensions alone, those costs are actually very small. There is also the incalculable benefit if you reach terms in mediation which enable the two of you to obtain a court order of knowing that you have future peace of mind.

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