Divorce Mediation: Can the Mediator Take Sides?

In Mankato Minnesota, a couple who is divorcing who wants to avoid the animosity, stress and costs associated with a litigated divorce will often pursue divorce mediation as an alternative. Mediation involves the couple working together with their divorce attorneys and with a qualified independent third party mediator who helps to facilitate communication and help a couple to compromise. Spouses who are divorcing who are committed to settling issues of custody, spousal and child support, and asset division outside of court may find that the skills a mediator brings to the table make it possible to come to an agreement when otherwise they would need to have a judge decide on these issues. Mediators, however, are different from judges and it is important to understand the role that they play. First and foremost, it is essential to understand that a mediator will not take sides.


Mediators are trained to remain impartial when they are helping a divorcing couple to come to a settlement agreement and to decide issues related to money, custody and other aspects of the divorce.  The goal of a mediator is not to advocate for either spouse, to judge whether something is true or not true, or to make any type of decision about the issues.

A mediator simply makes it possible for each spouse to communicate more effectively, and for compromises to be reached. Mediators may look for common ground, help couples to articulate what is most important to them, and guide a couple towards finding solutions that allow them to avoid litigation.  Mediators do not force either spouse to do anything, and mediation is generally voluntary which means that either spouse can walk away at any time.

Because mediators do not take sides, the success of divorce mediation in Mankato MN relies on the spouses coming to the table ready and willing to negotiate. If one spouse is recalcitrant or refuses to participate actively in discussions, the mediator cannot make him or her be more fair and the mediator cannot side with the spouse who is being cooperative. If both husband and wife are not committed to making mediation work, then divorce mediation in Mankato MN is simply a waste of time and money.

Since mediators do not take sides, it is also important for each party to be represented by a qualified and experienced attorney who is advocating for his or her interests. A mediator is not going to tell one of the spouses that he or she is getting a bad deal or being taken advantage of, because this is not a role that a mediator plays. A divorce attorney, on the other hand, advocates for the rights of clients and can help a husband or wife involved in a divorce to walk away from mediation with a fair and reasonable divorce settlement.

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