A Complete Online Guide to Divorce Mediation and Keeping Everything Smooth
The Many Benefits of Divorce Mediation
There are times when a couple knows they need to end their marriage. They may both agree with this but nothing else associated with it. In many situations, it is because people never thought they would ever get divorced. This can also happen when couples just can’t find common ground with how to separate their lives. During a divorce, there is a spectrum of feelings impacting the actions of both spouses. Neither of them is thinking clearly. In these situations, it is possible mediation could help resolve many if not all the issues.
This involves a divorcing couple meeting with a neutral third party who will review their situation and provide an opinion on how their issues could be resolved. The role of the mediator is to help provide the couple with suggestions they can consider. Mediation is a successful legal tool that has been used is various different domestic relation cases. It has been an effective part of resolving many different types of domestic issues involving divorce.
The process of mediation will begin with the selection of a mediator. They will be chosen from a list of mediators approved by the court. Each name on the list will have been vetted to assure they are neutral. It is common for a mediator to be a lawyer. They will have gone through specialized training when it comes to mediating family law matters. The actual mediation often takes place in the office of the mediator. It is common for the mediation process to take all day. The most successful mediation experiences occur when both spouses are prepared before the mediation and focused on working out a solution.
It is a legal statutory requirement for spouses to disclose all their finances prior to participation in mediation. Doing this is not something that can be ignored. This is required by law even if mediation is not part of the divorce proceeding. Unless there is full financial disclosure, a mediator is not going able to provide an accurate recommendation on how to resolve issues. Being able to make an informed decision is an essential part of the mediation process.
Start Of Process
It usually begins with a phone call to the mediator or their assistant. They will want to get basic background information on the marriage, spouses, family and to know all the issues involved with the divorce. Some mediators want as much information as possible prior to the first meeting. There are others who like to gather most of the information during the first meeting when everyone involved with the case is present.
It is usually held in a comfortable office or appropriate conference room. Once everyone is gathered together, the mediator will explain what everyone can expect to experience during the process. Some mediators like to meet with everyone during the entire process. Others like to meet with everyone initially and then meet with each spouse individually. This is intended to determine the exact issues involved. It may be required for spouses to sign an agreement that states what is said during the mediation is confidential. It may also state the mediator is unable to disclose anything that has taken place during the mediation process for any court proceedings in the future.
Focus On The Future
Mediators know there is one aspect of a divorce that is common, it is a very emotional time. This is also a time for each spouse to focus on their future. Mediators help people realize all divorces are eventually completed. When someone is so focused on holding onto a marital asset, they may lose sight of how they could benefit by moving on without it. Sometimes people are too willing to give up on assets the other side really doesn’t want. Successful divorce mediation involves keeping things in perspective. Mediation can help spouses see the benefits of letting go and moving on with their lives.
At the beginning of the negotiation process, a mediator will often suggest couples first address the simple issues involved with their divorce. Dealing with easy questions can create trust and promote compromise. This will be important when dealing with more difficult issues. During different points of the negotiations, a couple may believe they need to obtain more information. This is when a mediator will try to keep a couple focused and encourage them to think of options. Successful negotiations will require each spouse feeling comfortable expressing their positions and opinions on each issue. The best results often occur when spouses try to listen and understand the other point of view and are open to compromise.
Mediation And Attorney
Attorneys will work to eliminate variables, investigate, provide important tips as well as negotiate for their clients. The negotiations involved with a divorce settlement provides a unique set of legal and emotional challenges. A lawyer for the other side may be experienced is using unfair negotiating strategies and tactics. This is why it is important for both spouses to have an attorney with them during the mediation process. They will protect their client’s rights and understand the negotiation tactics being used by the other side. It is important to an attorney their client is satisfied with any agreement reached during mediation.
In many cases, the spouses will agree who will pay the fees of the mediator. Should they not agree, a spouse may ask a judge involved with the case to decide payment responsibility. When spouses agree to pay an equal share of the mediator’s fees, they are equally invested in obtaining an agreeable result. If the couple is not able to pay for the cost of mediation, it is possible the state may subsidize the mediator’s cost.
There are many times when couples can use mediation to reach an agreement concerning the issues in their divorce. These issues could include support, parenting responsibilities and more. Once an agreement is reached, it will be formalized in writing. Both spouses are then required to sign the agreement. After this is done, it will be presented to the court for approval. The court will review the agreement. If it agrees with the document presented by the couple, the court will grant the divorce using the terms of the agreement. In some cases, a judge may require certain changes to specific legal language or other types of technical corrections prior to approval.