What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation allows couples who are divorcing a process to meet with neutral third-parties serving as specially trained mediators to resolve common divorce issues out of court. Mediation is far less stressful and expensive than a divorce trial. it also is usually a far faster route because your spouse and you have the last say over the matters of your divorce as opposed to asking a judge to decide. Most couples “mediate out” of their divorce cases in less than half the time and expense typically incurred in a conventional court house litigated divorce case.
When there was a lack of communication, perhaps partially responsible for the demise of the relationship, mediation gives you both the chance to rebuild your skills of communication. Even the most trained professional can help couples with poor communication skills achieve a successful negotiation. Most mediations start and wrap up in one day. The Rule 69 agreement you sign at the end of your mediation is 100% binding the instant you walk out the door. There is no “do over” or second chances to mediate again the following day if you both sign a final agreement.
How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?
On average, divorce mediation can take anywhere from 1-6 months depending on the complexity of your situation. How the two parties deal with their issues and the ability to be flexible as they negotiate a fair agreement dictates how long the mediation will take. As each case is different, the average case typically takes at least one half-day, or full day mediation session. About 75% of mediations will settle on the first day.
The other 25% will have to come back another day, sometimes with more documents or things required to fully resolve all disputed issues. Mediations are usually scheduled at least a month in advance and several weeks apart so that both parties have time to locate and produce all relevant financial documents.
When Is Divorce Mediation Not Needed?
Depending on individual divorce circumstances, the Scottsdale divorce attorneys at Canterbury Law Group may or may not suggest mediation in divorce. For a divorce mediation to be successful and end in a fair and equitable settlement, several factors need to be present. First, both of the parties should have similar financial circumstances, including equal earnings and relatively equal separate assets. Second, both parties should be equally agreeable to the divorce, and they should have an amicable relationship with one another.
Third, both parties should have an excellent understanding of the other party’s income and finances and have equal access to the other’s financial statements. Finally, both parties need to be equally competent negotiators and be in equal negotiating positions. If any of those factors are not present, the divorce is not a good candidate for mediation. Thus, you should proceed with caution before electing mediation.
If you are considering mediation, here are reasons you should think twice before proceeding.
1. No One Is Looking Out For Your Interests
it is not the job of the mediator to look out for your interests. Rather, the mediator’s job is to act as a neutral party to facilitate the parties reaching their own agreement. In fact, since a mediator is legally bound to be neutral, he or she cannot alert or advise you if an agreement is unfair.
Worse yet, some mediators will subtly push the parties into accepting an unfair agreement simply so they can claim that the mediation was a “success.” This is why you are supposed to retain a divorce attorney to advise you in the background during the mediation process.
2. Mediation Can Cost More Than A Traditional Divorce
People often choose mediation because they think it will be less expensive than a regular litigated divorce. While it can be, this is frequently not the case. People entering mediation are almost always surprised to hear that they should hire their own attorneys to represent them in the background during the process. Once they hear that advice, much of the appeal of mediation disappears. That is why most people ignore that crucial advice, and proceed with mediation without representation.
Another frequently overlooked aspect of mediation that can end up making it more expensive than traditional divorce is the high risk of an unfavorable marital settlement agreement. Lack of knowledge about your spouse’s financial assets, ignorance of the law, and poor negotiating skills can easily cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars when you end getting less than you otherwise would have if you had retained a divorce attorney. You have not saved money if you negotiate a poor marital settlement agreement.
3. There Is No Guarantee Your Case Will Be Settled In Mediation
If you do proceed with mediation correctly and hire a divorce attorney to represent you in the background, mediation will likely cost you and your spouse anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 — and you may not succeed in reaching an agreement with your spouse.
If you don’t reach an agreement, you may have to start the process over again with traditional divorce litigation. And any money you have spent on mediation will have been wasted, sent down the drain.
To discuss your options in a Scottsdale divorce, call us today to schedule a consultation.
4. One Spouse Refuses To Reveal Their Assets
If one spouse is hiding or lying about marital assets, divorce mediation will be unsuccessful. Divorce mediation always requires honesty and trust from both parties.
5. There Is A History Of Domestic Abuse
It is certainly possible for one spouse to endure even more abuse or be traumatized merely by sitting across from his or her spouse during the mediation process.
6. There Is No Communication Between Spouses
When the spouses are refusing to speak to one another, it’s unreasonable to expect you’ll be able to talk during mediation. Both spouses must engage and collaborate on solutions for themselves and their families. Some couples come into the process too angry or resentful to make it a success.
7. One Spouse Doesn’t Want A Divorce
If you want a divorce but your spouse wishes to stay together, there are certainly some marital issues for you to work out prior to mediation. Do not confuse divorce mediation with couples therapy.
8. When No Help Is Needed Negotiating Assets
If you do not have children or a lot of marital assets, you do not have to engage in mediation. You may just need the help of an attorney to put your agreement in writing.
Need a Divorce Mediator in Scottsdale?
We have a network of Arizona mediators, attorneys, tax specialists, estate planners, financial planners, child specialists, real property appraisers, adult and child therapists and parenting coordinators who are here for you if you ever need them. Our divorce mediators and collaborative divorce lawyers in Scottsdale are here to make your divorce less stressful and keep you in control and costs contained. Call today for an initial consultation at 480-744-7711 or [email protected]. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custody, legal guardianship, paternity, prenuptial agreements, and more.