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What is Divorce Mediation and How Can it Work for You?

Divorce Mediation

 Divorce mediation is an option for divorcing spouses who might not want to go court, but still have their rights to be heard and come up with an amicable agreement that pleases both parties. There are currently 1.34 million lawyers in the United States, but some couples simply don't want to deal with this aspect of divorce or separation. In these cases, a mediator can help. The following details some information about divorce mediation and whether or not it's right for you in the divorce and mediation process.

Here are 6 important questions about divorce litigation and how it works for you:
  1. What is divorce mediation?
  2. What is the difference between mediation and litigation?
  3. Do I need a lawyer for divorce meditation?
  4. Can I use mediation if we already have children?
  5. How will assets be divided in the divorce and mediation process?
  6. When will mediation not work?

What Is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a voluntary settlement process used by married couples who want to divorce, and by domestic partners who desire a separation in the divorce and mediation process. Divorce mediation gives couples the option to plan their futures in a respectful atmosphere of cooperation. With the assistance of a trained divorce mediator, you couples can reach an agreement that is custom-made for them, as well as their finances. In divorce mediation, couples, along with respective lawyers, hire a neutral third party, called a mediator, to meet with them in an effort to discuss and resolve the issues in an impending divorce. Mediation is confidential, with no public record of what goes on in sessions.

Divorce mediation is a process that allows a divorcing couple to solve common issues and is typically less stressful and expensive than a divorce trial, which usually proceeds at a much faster pace. While a divorce attorney can advise you on aspects of law and argue on your behalf, a mediator works with both parties and does not take sides. The mediator helps communication improve with the divorcing couple and helps to reach an amicable resolution.

The first meeting with a mediator will most likely be spent collecting any background information and facts around the couple. Once the mediator has covered the basic information, each person will present their view of the issues. The mediator might ask questions for clarity purposes.

A divorce can be finalized following mediation with a few final steps. Many couples choose divorce mediation as opposed to a litigated divorce because it is more beneficial for their families. On average, divorce mediation is more affordable, takes less time, improves communication, encourages cooperation, allows for more control, which thus enables better decisions for their family, and is more emotionally protective of their children.

Separating and divorcing families have used divorce mediation for many years, regardless, there are some misunderstandings about the process. For example, partners do not have to be on good terms to be able to enter into divorce mediation. The process can benefit couples and domestic partners of all ages, income levels, and those with or without children. Without taking any side, a divorce mediator works with couples to negotiate a settlement that works for everyone. A divorce mediator helps couples to communicate individual concerns and common interests to reach a reasonable option to benefit all parties involved.

What Is The Difference Between Mediation And Litigation?

Mediation is less expensive than a court divorce in the divorce and mediation process. Only one mediator needs to be hired, instead of two different lawyers, and mediation proceedings are relatively more speedy than court proceedings in the divorce and mediation process. This saves time and money for divorcing spouses. A mediation session can last anywhere from a mere two hours, up to a full day. All participants attending the full session, but opportunities for breaks and private meetings with the mediator can take place. When parties make an agreement at mediation, both can agree whether there will be an information “good faith” agreement and only be enforceable if all parties sign a legally binding document.

Mediation works if one party takes money, and the other party agrees to less than what they might receive at a trial proceeding. However, if one believes it is not liable, then mediation will not resolve the dispute. Unlike a judge, a mediator won't decide upon the outcome of the case. The mediator's primary function is to help all parties resolve the problem that encourages each side to reach an agreement amicably. One cannot be compelled to mediate with a former partner, so the divorcing couple, or both parties, must attend.

This varies from divorce litigation, which is a method of divorce dispute resolution. This process involves submitting issues to a family court in order to resolve them. Families often choose litigation if an agreement cannot be reached through other divorce options. In some courts, mediators make recommendations to a judge about child custody or visitation. If a couple cannot agree on a parenting plan through mediation, the mediator is to write up a recommendation.

Do I Need A Lawyer For Divorce Meditation?

Mediation is less expensive than actually going to court in the divorce and mediation process. Hiring a mediator costs a lot less, and costs are usually shared. When combined with the lower mediation fee and the fact that the entire process has less turnaround time, couples end up saving money overall. When mediation is ordered by a judge in a divorce case, couples have the freedom to choose a proper date and time for the mediation session. Failure to attend can be cause for a contempt charge.

Divorce is an expensive and time-consuming process, even without a mediation attorney. Once legal fees are incurred, divorce costs will rise. The mediation will alleviate the time and financial constraints of divorce by eliminating the need for hearings, as well as a trial. A common misconception is that mediation agreements or settlements are not legally binding. That is not the case. A mediation settlement as much of a contract as to any settlement. The effect of breaking has the same effect as breaking any contract.

Mediation is confidential, if the evidence is shown to the other party, they could use this evidence should the matter go to court at later date. Should divorcing couples find themselves at an impasse, a lawyer will consider a change of private family-dispute resolution or a human-relations mediator for parenting concerns or a family arbitration for financial issues. If an agreement cannot be reached in mediation, the parties return to court. A mediator can force anyone to agree to anything.

Can I Use Mediation If We Already Have Children?

First impressions can have an influence on a mediator's recommendations. Appropriate clothing should be worn to mediation, such as business casual clothing, the same as if a couple was attending a divorce hearing. Each person should be prepared with ideas and solutions to the problem, and discuss these concerns calmly and without insults. It's important not to interrupt and listen to what the other party has to say about the situation, as well as how they felt about said situation. In the context of divorce or family law court, the mediator is a family lawyer or a counselor, whether it be a psychologist or social worker.

Should the mediation not be successful, an accredited family dispute resolution practitioner can issue a certificate to allow an application to be made to the family law court. The divorcing parties decide for themselves whether to work with a custody lawyer or child support attorney. Usually, a divorcing couple enters into a divorce settlement after attending mediation, or after negotiations with their attorneys. If someone should change their mind before signing the settlement agreement in the divorce and mediation process, the negotiations will commence once more.

Overturning a settlement agreement that was reached through mediation is not easy, but it is not impossible. Courts will usually throw out a settlement agreement of the petitioning party can provide evidence of deceit, fraud, duress, coercion, or misrepresentation. Should the parties have a low income, legal aid can be obtained for an introductory meeting. Witnesses should not be brought in a mediation. It's not like that of a trial or arbitration. The attorneys, parties, and mediator will discuss facts around the case, but there are no witnesses, testimony, cross-examination, exhibits, or arguments. Lawyers may be present with parties in a mediation, but it is not a requirement that a lawyer attend.

How Will Assets Be Divided in the Divorce and Mediation Process?

Mediation is preferred so that couples can avoid court altogether or will not need to proceed further with the court in the divorce and mediation process. There are six steps to formal mediation: Introductory remarks, statement of the problem, information gathering, identification of the problems, bargaining, and finally reaching an agreement. When an agreement is reached at mediation, both parties can also agree whether it will be an informal agreement made in “good faith” or whether it will be legally enforceable.

Even dog care can be discussed at a mediation hearing. A mediated conversation can devise helpful guidelines to make family life in the future run smoothly. A mediator can assist a couple to identify and resolve disagreements, misunderstandings around finances, and parenting. Having a family law attorney as well means that you have a professional who can help with objective advice based on experience in regard to divorce. A family law attorney help to avoid going for a quick resolution that may leave parties at a disadvantage going forward. A mediator in addition to an attorney can help to navigate the rough waters of divvying up assets between a divorcing couple.

When Will Mediation Not Work?

Divorce is a painful process, not only are there emotions to deal with, but property, finances, and parental arrangements in the divorce and mediation process. A family divorce attorney can help handle all of the major decisions that need to be made, as well as protecting their client's interests in court proceedings and settlement negotiations.

Divorce is quite common, with more than a third of marriages ending in divorce in the United States. Couples who marry young, as well as those financial issues, face an elevated risk of divorce. Divorce can have a lasting effect on children, as well as the resulting financial issues. Such as, if a husband was the primary source of income and the wife was a stay-at-home mother, the mother might have difficulties heading back into the workforce. Childcare concerns now become an issue that was previously handled. Also, if a father has a relatively low income, being suddenly hit with child support payments can be devastating. These issues can be hammered out in divorce proceedings.

Family lawyers can help to guide clients through a tough period and help to make the best decisions and determine the best course of action for the future. Having a family attorney means that couples have a professional who can offer quality, objective advice based upon experience in regard to the divorce and mediation process. A family lawyer can help to avoid cutting corners that may leave divorcing spouses at a long-term disadvantage.

Child custody and support lawyers focus their practice around laws that specifically deal with children in separation and divorce. They handle legal concerns such as child custody and guardianship. Family lawyers can also act as mediators when family disagreements crop up. They also represent litigants in family conflicts that show up in courts.

The most common arrangement is one in which one parent has sole physical custody, both parents have legal custody, and the noncustodial parent has scheduled visits. The physical well-being of the child is taken into account in custody concerns, such as making sure that the child has access to visitation with the other parent. The courts think that the parents can determine what is in the best interest of the child, and only if an agreement cannot be reached will the court hear both sides of the story and make a determination as to what best suits the child.

Divorce and separation are always painful, no matter what the circumstances. In the divorce and mediation process, a mediator can offer advice to couples, while remaining objective, and help a couple avoid a costly divorce that could potentially drag out longer than it should. Helping couples sort their issues during mediation can save heartache in the future for all parties.

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Louann Moss

I am an independent guest blogger who writes for many other blogs. You will love my articles.


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