Divorce mediation is an alternative process for you and your spouse to amicably negotiate and resolve your divorce and related matters. Mediation occurs when you and your spouse elect a neutral person (the mediator) to discuss openly the issues involved in the divorce such as custody of the children and parenting time, child support, division and distribution of the marital property, and alimony. Divorcing couples mutually choose mediation to avoid the cost of attorneys, the expenses of court filings, and the delays caused by the court process. Divorce mediation can provide a less-adversarial environment for you and your spouse to talk about the issues. Mediation is a good option for some couples considering divorce, but it is not always the best choice. Both parties must be fully open and agreeable to the divorce mediation process.
First, you and your spouse will select a mediator. Then, there is typically an initial consultation where the mediator sits down with you and your spouse to discuss the facts of the divorce and whether mediation may be beneficial. Once it is determined that you both want to move forward with mediation, the mediator will act as an impartial third party to help facilitate an agreement between you and your spouse that covers aspects of the divorce. This is often accomplished with a set of written questions from the mediator for both you and your spouse, a request for relevant financial documents, and then a series of meetings with the mediator. Each meeting usually has a specific agenda for discussion.
The mediator will often assist with the filing of a divorce complaint. This starts the divorce process and the mediation process will usually occur before or after the divorce complaint is filed. When you and your spouse are ready to request a divorce decree from the Court, a formal request is submitted to the Court with the signed Marital Settlement Agreement. The Agreement is incorporated into the divorce decree and it will be legally binding on you and your spouse.
As you can see, the mediation process can work for divorcing couples who can communicate amicably with one another, who can commit to problem solving and who trust that the other spouse is not taking advantage of the free exchange of information, and who believe they do not need someone advocating for their rights under the law.
Most divorcing couples should not utilize the mediation process because most issues in any divorce are final once they are resolved. When divorcing couples utilize a mediator, they usually do not have an attorney who can advise them. In other words, nobody is looking out for your best interests because the mediator is just trying to strike a deal for both of you, without having any fiduciary duties towards either of you. As such, in most situations the cons outweigh the pros.
There is no cookie-cutter approach for divorcing couples. Each party to the divorce should assess their own strengths and weaknesses and should carefully consider these pros and cons before deciding on whether mediation is the best option.
Contact The Martin Law Firm, P.C. today if you have questions about whether divorce mediation is right for you. A divorce lawyer will discuss your case over the phone at no charge. Call us today at (215) 646-3980.
A separation often brings up feelings of anger and resentment, but emotional conflict tends to make divorce more expensive. If you and your spouse want to avoid court hearings, discovery, finger-pointing, and a costly trial, you may benefit from divorce mediation. Continue reading to find out if it's right for you.
Divorce mediation is a process that allows divorcing couples to meet with a specially-trained, neutral third-party to discuss and resolve common divorce-related issues. Mediation is typically less stressful and less expensive than a divorce trial, and it usually proceeds much faster. Because you and your spouse have the final say over your divorce matters, mediation also allows couples to maintain the power and control in their divorce, as opposed to asking a judge to decide.
There's no doubt that divorce becomes more complicated when it involves children. Parents seeking a divorce will need to select a mediator who is trained to handle the various issues that come with divorce, like child custody, visitation, and child support.
Your mediator should be trained in conflict resolution and have extensive knowledge of your state's divorce laws. Additionally, your mediator should be willing to work with you and your spouse to facilitate a meaningful conversation about the issues at hand, which can help eliminate the finger-pointing and other drama that usually accompanies divorce. Typically, mediators will keep you on track and may make suggestions to help you resolve any lingering issues. However, your mediator can't make decisions for you, force either spouse to accept a term, or insist that either spouse sign a contract.
The mediation process starts once you and your spouse agree to use this method of alternative dispute resolution and choose your mediator. In most states, mediation is voluntary, so if either spouse disagrees and wants to follow the traditional divorce route, a court won't force your spouse to engage in mediation. That said, there are some states where the court requires couples to demonstrate a good faith effort in mediation before scheduling additional court hearings.
Mediation will only work if both spouses are open to negotiating the terms of the divorce. Typically, you'll set up an initial meeting between the spouses and the mediator. During the first meeting, each spouse will have the opportunity to explain expectations for the most common divorce-related issues, including:
Aside from statutory limitations of divorce, mediation doesn't have a time limit. You can continue to mediate and work on your divorce judgment for as long as you, your spouse, and the mediator would like. Naturally, the longer it takes and the more meetings you have, the more expensive it becomes. You can decide to meet once per week, monthly, or at any other time. Most couples can resolve mediation with a few sessions, which typically costs thousands of dollars less than litigating your case in court.
For some couples, working with your spouse and a mediator might be just what you need to obtain a divorce with as little conflict as possible. But, mediation will only work if you and your spouse are on the same page. You are more likely to have a successful mediation if all or most of the following statements are true.
With divorce mediation comes the need for frequent meetings involving both spouses, the mediator, and possibly attorneys. If you and your spouse have a history of domestic abuse, most mediators won't take your case because it's difficult to keep both spouses on track, and it's challenging for the mediator to determine if the victim agrees to the settlement because of fear or intimidation from the abuser. In states that require mediation, if you can demonstrate a history of physical violence, the court will excuse you from the mandatory sessions.
One of the most complicated parts of any divorce is the finances. Both spouses must be willing to provide the other (and the mediator) with sensitive information, including documentation relating to bank accounts, retirement, pensions, stocks, and all other assets and debts. In most marriages, it's common for one spouse to be more familiar with the family assets and liabilities than the other. If you don't have all the relevant financial information, you'll need to investigate and understand your marital estate before you agree to a proposed property settlement.
Divorce mediation is an excellent way to work with your co-parent to decide who should care for the children on a day-to-day basis, who should be responsible for paying child support, and the type and frequency of visitation with the non-custodial parent.
When you've decided to end your marriage, one of the first things you have to decide is which process you'll use to get divorced. You can hire lawyers and battle it out in court, use a do-it-yourself service, or try divorce mediation.
Once a couple has prepared a settlement agreement, they can file an \"uncontested\" divorce with the court. The court often fast-tracks uncontested cases because everything has been worked out in advance; judges are often able to finalize the divorce in a matter of a couple of months.
If you're not able to do a DIY divorce because you and your spouse have unresolved issues or you just need some help with the paperwork, trying mediation before putting your case in the hands of lawyers has many advantages.
When the mediation ends, you and your spouse will likely be on better terms than if you'd spent a year or so battling each other in the courthouse. Court skirmishes tend to foster lingering hostility and resentment that becomes nearly impossible to overcome even once the divorce is finalized. The negative effects of that are obvious, both for you and your children.
Mediation can also set the tone for a better relationship and make for smoother co-parenting down the road. In fact, a long-term study revealed that mediation resulted in parents who don't live with their children seeing the children more often than those who took their divorce to court.
If you're looking to keep your expenses to a minimum, keep in mind the cost of mediation compared to a DIY divorce. But in a DIY divorce, you'll have to navigate the divorce process without any help, meaning you'll have to familiarize yourself with court rules and procedures.
In collaborative divorce, each spouse hires an attorney specially trained in the collaborative divorce process to represent them in settlement discussions. No mediator, judge, or arbitrator is involved. The collaborative divorce lawyers seek to negotiate a settlement outside of court and then take the agreement to a judge for approval. Before beginning discussions, the spouses and lawyers agree that if the spouses can't reach an agreement, the lawyers will withdraw before the divorce goes to court. Having to find (and pay) a new attorney is often a powerful incentive for the spouses to use their best efforts to settle their differences. Collaborative divorce is usually more expensive than a mediated divorce, but less expensive than a divorce that lawyers litigate in court. 59ce067264