A separation often conjures up angry emotions throughout the region, but ongoing marital conflict often leads to even more divorce costs. When two people in love want separate ways, they can opt for divorce mediation as an alternative. Mediation is less expensive than going to court and can even be less damaging to your credit rating. If you and your partner wish to avoid lengthy court hearings, costly discovery, lengthy trial, and emotional finger-pointing, you can surely benefit from divorce mediation. To start, both parties must be well-aware of their legal rights and responsibilities in the event of divorce. If you are not yet sure if you and your partner can sever your marriage peacefully, proceed with caution.
Mediation usually lasts about two weeks. Both parties may hire their own legal representation or hire a neutral party to represent them in the process. Mediation is free for both parties. Once the parties have chosen a mediator, they are responsible for paying any expenses pertaining to the mediation. However, the court may require one party or the other to reimburse any expenses from which they would have paid if they had gone to court.
Mediation can be helpful because it provides an opportunity for the parties to work out details of the divorce agreement without presenting their cases to a judge. It also allows the divorcing couple to save money. In most states, divorce mediation requires that both spouses attend counseling with a trained professional. During the counseling phase, the mediator helps the parties develop strategies on how to handle issues surrounding the divorce. The goal of the mediation process is for the spouses to reach an agreement without presenting their cases to a judge.
In some instances, a divorce mediation is a better option than going to court because a judge might not agree with aspects of the proposed agreement. There are some situations where going to court is not appropriate including when the parties decide to resolve their differences without hiring an attorney or when one spouse doesn’t want to dispute certain aspects of the divorce agreement. A licensed divorce and custody lawyer who has expertise in family law can help you find the best solution for your situation whether you go to mediation or court.
The divorce mediation process may start with an agreement to share child custody or visitation. You and your former spouse may come up with an agreement on these issues without the assistance of an attorney. If the parties are unable to agree on the specifics of the agreement, however, they will probably need to present their cases to a judge and possibly start court proceedings.
Mediation is less formal than divorce proceedings. You and/or your former spouse may enter into a written settlement agreement or a divorce mediation agreement. Written agreements generally take into account the amount of property that is jointly owned, the length of the marriage, alimony payments, child support payments and other related issues. Some divorce attorneys provide their clients with a form for a written settlement agreement. Others allow their clients to fill out the form on their own. Either way, if you choose to use a form, it is essential that you understand what is contained in the document and that you agree with all of the terms.
The purpose of a divorce mediation is for you and/or your former spouse to communicate effectively in order to reach a settlement agreement. When you meet with a mediator, you will give your name, address and phone number so that the mediator can contact you if necessary. Your spouse will also be asked to fill out a confidentiality form indicating that he or she will not discuss any details of the settlement with anyone other than the mediator. In some states, the mediator may ask you to sign a waiver indicating that you understand the nature of the meetings.
As with divorce court, divorce mediation centers provide you with a safe, comfortable place to communicate with someone you feel comfortable discussing sensitive matters with. Divorce mediation centers are staffed by professionally trained divorce mediators who have experience working with couples in similar situations. Many divorce mediation centers also offer spiritual support and counseling for their clients. If you’re considering ending your marriage, contact a divorce mediation center today and make an appointment. You’ll be amazed at the relief of not having to face the stress of a hostile custody battle.