Hêphaistos was bitter and angry, and that was even before hearing the bad news about his wife, Aphrodite. She was getting down with—of all people—Hêphaistos’ brother, Ares. Not only was she an adulteress, she also gave birth to several children by Ares, all while married to sad, overstressed Hêphaistos.

So Hêphaistos—probably more familiar to most people under his Latinized name, Hephaestus—divorced her. Those ancient Greek myths1 are as compelling today as any soap opera you could watch on TV. What is not myth, however, are the benefits of divorce mediation. Too many people have too many wrong ideas about this way of settling conflict before, during, and after divorce.

Myth #1: A Mediator Replaces My Lawyer

Just as the mediator will work to help reconcile differences between you and your spouse, your divorce attorney will work to protect your rights in all legal matters. The divorce mediator is not intent on taking over anyone else’s job or responsibilities.

  • If you have not started divorce proceedings, divorce mediation may be able to keep conflict out of the process altogether, allowing you and your lawyer to file an uncontested divorce.
  • If you have started divorce proceedings and hit snags, divorce mediation can help iron these conflicts out without the expense and stress of a courtroom showdown.
  • If you have completed divorce proceedings and are getting into fights with your ex-wife over money, children, or other problems, divorce mediation can help resolve those conflicts, too.

Myth #2: Mediators Give Legal Advice

Mediators are barred from giving legal advice. They provide legal information, but you draw your own conclusions. Divorce mediation provides a common arena for your spouse and you to present issues, hear legal information that may pertain to the topic, and discuss solutions. You and your spouse are left to make your own decisions.

Good divorce mediators will also recommend running all decisions by your lawyer, too, to protect your rights. This means you may spend 10 hours with a mediator, but only one or two hours with a divorce lawyer. This saves everyone time, some emotional turmoil, and money.

Myth #3: Mediators Only Work with Happy People

Even if you and your ex-wife (or soon-to-be ex-wife) seethe with the raw fury of angry Greek gods, a mediator is trained to work with impassioned people and still find common ground.

One solution may be that the two of you—your angry ex-wife and your seething self—are never in the same room together. That can really happen, yet conflicts can still be resolved. Better and faster, of course, is to have both of you sitting down at the same…extremely large…table (How do we put this? A table big enough that neither of you can reach across it, if you catch our drift) and quietly talking through whatever the conflict is.

Myth #4: The Mediator is the Same as a Judge

Nope. The mediator is one player in a wider world of supportive people. You can get an accountant to provide expertise on splitting accounts; a baseball card shop owner to appraise your Topps 1964 Mets Casey Stengel card so your ex-wife does not suggest tearing it in half. Get anyone you want, and defend your rights, valuables, mementos and more; the mediator will not mind.

Obviously a key member of that circle of advisers is your divorce lawyer. Your lawyer will reassure you that the mediator acts within the purview of the legal system, not on par with the judge presiding over your divorce.

(Maybe) Myth #5: The Mediator will Take Her Side

The word “mediation” suggests that both sides can step a bit closer, each finding something to gain (and possibly something—like bitterness, anger, or resentment—to give up).

The mediator balances the intentional conflict of a legal battle with a spirit of cooperative mediation. The objective? Neither side is favored, nor is either side persecuted. While the legal contest is (by design) adversarial, mediation can be an island of respite in a sea of troubles.

As an important side note, our firm has found that most mediators in our area tend to sway pro-mom and anti-dad. Just being “real” here!

Myth #6: My Kids will Be Hurt Even More

Your emotional plate is probably full already; your ex-wife may be similarly distraught. Having a mediator who looks out for the best interests of your kids can take some of the worry off you. The Virginia Bar Association recommends asking for lists of divorce mediators to help spare your children any undue pain. Mediation can actually keep a family closer, making the divorce less stressful on everyone.

Whether you choose to pursue divorce mediation to have an uncontested divorce or need full representation in a contested divorce, The Firm for Men stands ready to help you. Call our Virginia Beach office at 757-383-9184 or contact to schedule a consultation with an informed, compassionate attorney today. We’re proud to represent the Hampton Roads area, and are only a short drive from Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Newport News, and Hampton.

[1] http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/HephaistosLoves.html

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