It isn’t always necessary to take your divorce to court. Legally, couples can make any agreement that works for them. They can decide whatever they choose regarding support, property division, the kids, and so on.
This legal freedom does pose a problem. Your divorce is happening for a reason, and it’s probably not a good one. Most likely, either you, your spouse, or both is harboring some negative feelings toward the other. This can make it hard to work together.
Divorcing couples that want to avoid court but have a hard time communicating should consider mediation. In this article, we will take a closer look at this process and help you decide if it is right for you.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a way of settling legal disputes. It allows the participants to settle matters out of court.
Essentially, the parties in conflict meet with a neutral, legal professional. This person is not trying to secure a “win” for either client. They work for both parties to facilitate negotiations. Their job is to reach solutions that work for everyone.
In a divorce, the mediator can help you settle the major concerns: property division, spousal and child support, and child custody. Because you are settling the matter out of court, they can help you reach conclusions about anything else that is important to you, too.
Mediators generally have specialized psychological training. They use these skills to keep the conversation moving. If tensions start to rise, they can help keep everyone collected and calm.
The Mediation Process
Before attending mediation, you sign an agreement. Essentially, the agreement states that you will abide by the conclusions you reach in mediation. This is a legally binding document. If someone breaks it, the other can take the matter to court, and the court will treat this violation seriously.
Mediation allows you to have a representative. This can be a friend, coworker, or even another lawyer. In this situation, the process remains the same. Everyone is still working toward mutually beneficial solutions. Some people may simply have trouble expressing themselves, or they are too emotional to effectively communicate. A representative can speak for you, advocating for your position and needs.
Generally, divorce mediation takes one session that lasts between two and three hours. You will pay the mediator by the hour, then you will pay for any court filing fees. (You must submit your final agreement to the court so it can process your divorce.)
If the divorce is complicated, involving entangled assets and difficult parenting schedules, you may need to attend more than one session.
The Benefits of Divorce Mediation
When your divorce goes to court, everything becomes a matter of public record. Any accusations, no matter how unfounded, can be accessed by anyone.
In mediation, only your final agreements go to court. Anything you say in the mediation room stays between the people involved.
In a courtroom divorce, every little thing must be investigated and answered. Even if your spouse spins wild allegations, your attorney must counter these. They must investigate every claim and present counterarguments.
The courtroom process itself can take a long time, even when the divorce is reasonably amicable. You must attend multiple sessions, wait for decisions, have several meetings with your attorneys, and more.
Mediation can take as few as two hours, depending on the details of your divorce. You can hash out the details, sign the paperwork, and move on.
In a courtroom divorce, everything claim must be investigated and answered. Sometimes, an unscrupulous lawyer will use this fact to their advantage. They can be guilty of “churning.” Their team can introduce wild claims. Even when those claims are easy to debunk, they stretch out the trail and fatten the attorney’s pockets.
Often, all this expense lands on one person, as many divorce courts order one spouse to pay everyone’s attorney fees.
In mediation, you are simply paying for the mediator’s time. If you hire a representative, that lawyer organizes your documents and helps you communicate during mediation. Beyond that, you pay for some court-filing costs, and you’re done. It’s a much less expensive way to handle your divorce, and you still get the peace of mind knowing you had legal professionals involved.
Our firm is here to help mediate and negotiate an amicable divorce. You can schedule a free consultation with us to discuss the details. Just call (801) 901-7046 or fill out our online contact form.