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Does anyone have any experience of using mediation in a divorce?

(11 Posts)
Blondeandinept Tue 13-Sep-16 18:58:50

I like my solicitor, I really feel they have my back, give me very good advice and will represent me very well.

However my husband is desperate for us to go down the route of mediation. To save legal fees.

This is a relatively amicable divorce. No third party, I simply do not love and often don't like my STBX. He is a very intelligent, articulate and quick thinking man. I am concerned that I will be overwhelmed.

What's your experience? And would you do again?

Many thanks

Doesntfitthemould Tue 13-Sep-16 20:30:55

I had to go through this with my exh because we hadn't been married long. It was ok, however 7 years down the line it's all gone out of the window.
Do you have dc?

Improvisingnow Tue 13-Sep-16 21:41:03

TBH my experience of mediation was pretty poor. My EA exH fed the mediator a line about his reasonableness and my graspingness and she bought it hook line and sinker and start telling me that I had to agree a settlement within his parameters. Only the fact that I have a legal qualification (though not in family law) and had done my homework with my solicitor before going in meant that I did not buy into it.

I ended the session early and fairly acrimoniously. Counsel subsequently confirmed that my interpretation was correct and she (and he) were wrong.

The mediator in this case was an experienced family lawyer who had conducted many mediations and ought to have known better so on the basis of my experience I'd say don't do it, though sitting through one session is mandatory in order to get your divorce.

I also think that women generally try hard to be reasonable and make concessions and the men just think about themselves so mediation tends to favour men.

That said, there is an alternative form of mediation where you both have lawyers and that might work for you. More expensive but if you, say, set aside a single day to resolve all outstanding issues and manage to do so then that would be cheaper than a contested divorce.

Lostin3dspace Tue 13-Sep-16 21:45:27

I tried this in another form, I.e. Collaborative law. It requires both parties to be open and honest, and you still fill out a Form E. It would work well if the divorce is amicable, and it would certainly be cheaper than traditional court process. Collaborative law has legal standing, but mediation I believe has less 'clout'
I ended up in court anyway because my exh treated the round table discussion as an opportunity to bully me out of a fair settlement, and he was dishonest and manipulative throughout the process, and the ensuing court proceedings the following year. At court, the judge castigated us both for being there, saying we should have sorted it out between us. This comment is probably one that is policy to trot out, but still annoyed me, as plainly if I could sort it out without court proceedings, I would have done, and indeed I had tried. In fact, in order to go to court, I had to visit a mediator to get a certificate to show that I had tried mediation first, so you may as well try mediation, because you can't visit court unless you have either tried it, or you get a certificate to show that mediation isn't appropriate.

housewifedesperate Tue 13-Sep-16 23:29:14

I tried mediation with my vstbxh. It didn't work in my opinion. He's a narcissist who doesn't listen to anyone so it depends really whether you think stbxh will be reasonable and actually negotiate with you.
Unfortunately the law requires couples to go down the mediation route unless there's a history of dv. There had been a dv incident in my relationship but I never got it recorded with the police and of course, he wouldn't admit it. I think forcing someone to mediate with a narcissist is pretty pointless and time wasting and we're about to settle our finances through negotiations through our lawyers which could have been done quicker had it not been for the mediation.

WhatsGoingOnEh Tue 13-Sep-16 23:31:49

I had a couple of sessions. It ended up with my going from having 70% of the value of the marital home, to 55%. I still don't know how that happened.

AtTheEndofTheRoad Tue 13-Sep-16 23:46:51

Only had one session so far, but despite not even having our current financial situation on the table yet- i.e. He earns 10 times the amount I do, I do 90% of the childcare and by mutual agreement have worked part-time to do that, she still leapt into 50/50 splits and how if I got more it must be offset against pension. It was neither neutral nor impartial and I was made to feel very small, not to say over-emotional when I pointed out that some of this directly contradicted my lawyer's opinion. At the moment my Stbxh is far more reasonable. I don't know if this will last but I do feel that if it does we could do better on our own.. And if it doesn't I have a good lawyer.

Djchickpea Wed 14-Sep-16 19:06:22

I left my husband because he was selfish and unreasonable. Unsurprisingly he was the same in mediation and the very little talking we did was when he bullied me into compromising. Only did the one session. I would only recommend if you think you can actually negotiate with your husband

Blondeandinept Wed 14-Sep-16 20:59:32

Goodness, thank you very very much for your advice. Hugely helpful.

I don't want to do mediation. There, I said it. My STBX is a formidable mad, very quick thinking and Intelligent. And a very high earner. A lot is at stake. I'm a SAHM, and feeling very vulnerable indeed. On the upside, my STBX is straight down the line, and would never lie or exaggerate during any mediation, I'm sure if that.

How about we use mediation for any of the sticky bits? E.g. My solicitor is about to send him a suggested budget and plan going forward re. The house and pensions. He can the identify the specific areas he has an issue with and then we use mediation to discuss these issues and ONLY these issues, thus giving me the opportunity to discuss very closely with my solicitor and know my rights and what I should push for. WHat do you think?

Thanks again

Blondeandinept Wed 14-Sep-16 21:01:08

Whatsgoingon? Did you manage to change that situation? Is mediation like writing it in stone?

Lostin3dspace Wed 14-Sep-16 22:13:36

I reckon collaborative law is better for you then. You go into a meeting with your solicitor, and he brings his. You get all the accounts out, work out the assets andincome needs, and negotiate between you with a representative each, around the same table. You can probably get it done in two or three meetings. You need a collaboratively trained lawyer though, and having learned, I would only do this if your stbxh is open and reasonable.
The outcome is written up into a court order.

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