A couple entering into divorce proceedings has probably heard many tales from friends who have worked through a divorce themselves. Opinions often color perceptions of how the process was handled. In Minnesota, mediation is required if the parties have not come to an agreement before their initial case management conference. It can be reassuring to know what won’t happen in regards to mediation and your divorce. Here are some common myths to dispel regarding divorce mediation:
1. We have many assets; attorney fees are going to be higher: If both sides of the divorce are prepared to divide assets equably, attorney fees can be considerably lower than if they are arguing over every detail. It is the time taken to negotiate that is expensive, not the value of individual assets.
2. Mediation won’t work for me: Many couples come to an amicable parting of ways. If you and your partner are mutually prepared to split assets, mediation can save a great deal of time, emotional distress and money vs. leaving it to the courts. It is well worth the effort.
3. The court will do the right thing: It is thought that the judge will hear the entire tale of woe and always determine what is the best way forward for the couple, so why bother working through mediation. The fact is the judge only has a couple hours to sift through years of conflict, disappointment and economic decisions before divvying up assets and assigning custody. Mediation offers more time for both parties to come to the best decisions for everybody involved.
4. If I move out, I’m giving up the house: Simply not true. The marital home remains a marital asset even if one of the parties leaves. Do not hesitate to leave an abusive situation for fear of losing the value of the home.
5. They filed first and will get everything: Being a no-fault state, in the case of divorce wrongdoing and marital misconduct are not taken into consideration when splitting assets in Minnesota, only in regards to the interest of the kids. Therefore, being the first one to file divorce citing cheating or abuse does not hand the advantage to the filer.
6. The kids can choose whom to live with: There is no age of determination in Minnesota. The wishes of a child are taken into consideration on an individual basis and given weight in regards to mental maturity and needs of the child. Cooler heads will prevail in this instance.
7. If we chose mediation and it goes poorly, I’m stuck with the results: Mediation is only binding if both parties sign a memorandum to be submitted to the court.
Going through a divorce is an emotionally challenging time and it is natural to feel stress and anxiety over what to expect from the process. At Dwire Law Offices, P.A. we believe in helping our clients sort through the complex issues to make informed decisions about the future. Contact Attorney Todd Dwire to discuss your situation, learn more about your legal rights and help you move forward to your new future.