Few relationships begin with partners discussing how it might end, so navigating a divorce is something more of us aren’t prepared for. On top of dealing with the emotional trauma, we’re also faced with massive decisions such as parenting rights and asset division that can alter the rest of our lives. This is where an experienced divorce lawyer can help with measured and rational guidance. Here we take a look at divorce mediation as a useful tool in this process.
Ask a Divorce Lawyer: 5 Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Mediation
1. What Is Mediation?
Mediation is simply a process where couples meet with a trained professional who helps them reach as many agreements as possible during divorce proceedings. Its main objective is to avoid the stress and extra costs that are incurred when couples fight over every detail while the court is in session. A mediator’s job is to help find acceptable solutions for both parties, and it’s important to note that a divorce mediator will not take sides.
The idea is to make decisions on many of the essential matters in a less formal and more comfortable environment than a courtroom provides. Some of these issues are things like plans for parenting, living arrangements, and how assets might be divided. Once these agreements are made, the mediator will assist in delivering them to the court so they can be made official.
2. How Can Mediation Help Me?
No one ever wants to be in a situation where they’re forced to go through separation or divorce. It’s often an incredibly emotional and stressful experience where people are tasked with making important decisions that can affect the rest of their lives. A professional mediator helps reduce the tension and guides conversations between you and your spouse to amicable decisions that will benefit both parties. This process is called facilitative mediation.
This is perhaps most important when you have children, since parental roles will continue, and you’ll want to minimize stress and animosity for their sake. Experienced divorce mediation lawyers in Sugar Land, TX have the tools and experience to help you navigate through conflicts and arrive at effective solutions. A mediator can also play an important balancing role when one party holds more influence or is a better negotiator than the other.
3. Does Mediation Take a Long Time?
One advantage of choosing mediation over going straight into a divorce suit is you’ll quickly get a sense of how long the process might take. Your mediator will help you and your spouse arrive at agreements more quickly and will then explain the legal steps in formalizing everything in the court system. Once you’ve reached this point, you’ll have a very clear sense of how long the process will take.
This is not always the case with a divorce trial, where many elements are out of your control. Divorce court proceedings can stretch on for months or even years, costing exorbitant amounts of time and money. Mediation allows you the opportunity to complete your divorce much more quickly, putting the power back in your hands. Your mediator can also suggest alternative paths you might consider, such as a separation agreement.
4. How Do I Prepare for Mediation?
During your first meeting or phone call, a mediator will ask some basic questions about your situation. The initial mediation session will then be scheduled with you and your spouse, and you will likely be asked to bring certain documents. These could include things like financial statements or tax returns in cases where you and your spouse will be dividing assets. Therefore, one of the first things you’ll want to do is procure and organize relevant documents.
Consider the issues that are most important to you as well as those on which you may be willing to compromise. Giving these questions some forethought can help prevent emotions and confusion in the heat of the moment. Another important point is to try and manage your expectations. Understand that the objective is not to win every argument, but to get through this process with agreements both you and your spouse can live with.
5. Do I Need To Hire a Lawyer for Mediation?
During the actual mediation process, it is optional but not necessary to have your own lawyer representing your interests. One of the main advantages of using a professional mediator is that he or she is a neutral party, tasked only with helping you and your spouse find common ground. Once you and your spouse have reached agreements, you may consider asking a lawyer to review any pertinent documents before you sign them.
These are a few of the most common questions people have about mediation. Going through a divorce can cause tremendous mental, emotional, and financial stress for both you and your spouse. Mediation is a valuable tool that helps couples navigate this difficult period and arrive at agreements that both parties can live with.