Just like every marriage is different, so is every divorce case. Some couples are able to cooperate and settle issues such as child custody or property division in a relatively easy manner, while other refuse to agree and take the case to a costly divorce trial. If you and your spouse are struggling to agree on certain issues but want to avoid the time, energy, and expense of trial, one option you should consider is mediation.
How Divorce Mediation Works
Mediation is a process intended to facilitate cooperation and compromise so that couples can settle the various issues in their divorce in a mutually agreeable manner. A third party mediator meets with you and your spouse to try to help you discuss various solutions and reach an agreement. Each spouse can–and often does–have an attorney representing them to help ensure their interests are protected.
Though each mediation experience can be different, the process generally involves the following:
- The mediator will gather information regarding your family, marriage, and all of the issues that are relevant in your divorce.
- The mediator will go over what you should expect from mediation and the specifics of how they run a mediation session.
- The mediator will make an assessment of which issues can be agreed upon from the start and which issues may take some work for you to reach a settlement.
- Conversation will be facilitated regarding your stances and your spouse’s stances on any sticking points and what issues are most important to you.
- If you can agree on issues in your divorce, the mediator or an attorney will draft a mediation agreement, which you will both sign. If the court approves the mediation agreement, it will become part of the final judgment issued in your divorce. This means that if your spouse fails to abide by the agreement, you can request that the court enforce the terms of the agreement.
In order to encourage resolutions that work for everyone, experts may be brought in to analyze economic or parenting matters and help you reach an agreement that works for your whole family.
The Benefits Of Mediation
If successful, mediation can be extremely beneficial for divorcing couples in Arizona. Only some of the many benefits can include:
- You have a say in how issues are resolved instead of a court making a decision for you.
- Mediation takes significantly less time and less money than court hearings or trial.
- You and your spouse can share the cost of neutral experts instead of each hiring your own experts who then may have differing points of view.
- A mediation record and agreement are confidential, while a divorce agreement is public record.
- If you and your spouse agree on the issues, you will be more likely to work together and cooperate in parenting and other ongoing matters.
- You are still able to have access to legal advice throughout the entire process.
If divorce mediation does not work, you can still turn to the courts for assistance settling divorce issues. However, it is often worth it to try mediation first to save resources and stress.
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