Going through a divorce can be a difficult and confusing time. Divorces often involve lawyers, court dates, and a lot of time and costs. This is especially true for divorcing couples that can't agree on anything and require the intervention of attorneys and judges to resolve all of their disputes. On the other hand, there are some couples who don't have any disagreements and find themselves in a pretty straightforward divorce. For them, the only legal help they likely need is guidance with filing their divorce papers.
Most people, however, find themselves in the middle where they are able and willing to come to agreements outside of court, but may not be able to agree on everything. In these situations, the parties may have different views on how to best settle issues like child custody, support, and property division, but they may not necessarily have to go to court to settle their issues. These couples could benefit from using a collaborative divorce procedure or mediation.
The legal issues involved in a divorce are numerous and complex. Mediation and collaborative divorce are now a popular methods to come to agreement on these issues, and a competent divorce attorney will know how to mediate or effectuate a collaborative divorce without resorting to litigation. Finding a trustworthy and competent attorney is the key, so call our office today for a free consultation.
What is Mediation?
A mediator is an independent, neutral third-party who conducts mediation. He or she helps people involved in a conflict or dispute come to agreement. For couples seeking a divorce, the divorce itself is the dispute and the mediator’s role is to help both parties (spouses) identify, negotiate and come to mutually-acceptable agreement on the various issues and financial matters required to end their marriage out of court.
The divorce mediator actively participates in the negotiations, but the spouses have full control over the decisions they will be making, which is unlike arbitration whereby an arbitrator acts as a judge and controls the decision-making process.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative law refers to the process of removing disputes from the "fight and win" setting of a courtroom into a "troubleshoot and problem solve" setting of negotiations. Thus, a collaborative law divorce is a process by which parties use mediation and negotiations to settle their divorce.
Some courts even make it mandatory that divorcing parties seek mediation or collaborative divorce before litigating in court. Note that it takes two willing participates for a collaborative law divorce to work. If your spouse is reluctant, mediation and negotiations may be fruitless.
Will Collaborative Divorce work for me?
If the following values are important to you, it is likely to be a workable option:
I want us to communicate with a tone of respect
I want to prioritize the needs of our children.
My needs and those of my spouse/partner require equal consideration, and I will do my best to listen objectively.
What are the benefits of using Collaborative Divorce?
1. You each have more control over the outcome. You can voice your opinions and know that you will be heard.
2. You get to agree to settlement issues based on compromise and fair play instead of having a judge make the final decisions that affect your lives
3. It is less expensive than litigation. Attorney fees and court costs can add up quickly.
4. The process takes less time than litigation because you chose the time and place you meet instead of dealing with the timetable of busy divorce courts.
5. There is far less stress and anxiety involved because you are playing a more active role in the divorce.
6. The goal is to reach a settlement before anyone files papers in divorce court. Once a couple accepts a settlement, then a legally binding agreement is written and once signed by both parties the papers are filed in court for the approval of a judge.
7. You know that you worked together to make life easier for everyone. This is especially important if children are involved.