For some divorcing spouses, litigation doesn’t seem like the best option. Couples may be better served through a divorce mediation if they are willing to work together to resolve differences. In fact, you are likely to be ordered to mediate custody and equitable distribution claims. Divorce mediation is a less confrontational alternative to protracted litigation. During the mediation, spouses discover they have more personal control over the case. That may make it possible for them to avoid a time-consuming and painful divorce process, leading to having a less stressful experience.
Definition of Divorce Mediation and How It Works
It is a private process for trying to discuss and resolve parental and financial problems related to the divorcee. The spouses may voluntarily agree or they may be ordered to try to work out problems between themselves with the help of a mediator. The mediator acts as a neutral third-party during the mediation, attempting to help the parties reach a resolution acceptable to them both, including:
- For most couples involved in a child custody dispute, they will be required to mediate with a court-appointed mediator.
- There is no charge for child custody mediation and the parties’ attorneys do not attend.
- In an equitable distribution matter the couple may choose a mediator acceptable to them both or the court will appoint a mediator.
- Both parties and their lawyers attend equitable distribution mediation. The parties are equally responsible for paying the cost of the mediator.
During the mediation, the mediator will assist the spouses in establishing an agreement on parenting or division of property as the case may be.
If an agreement is reached in court-ordered custody mediation the mediator will prepare a parenting agreement and send it to both parties and their individual attorneys for review. The parties may either sign the agreement, modify the agreement, or refuse to sign the agreement. If the agreement is signed by the parties, the parenting agreement is presented to the court where it is signed by a judge and becomes a court order.
In equitable distribution, the parties’ lawyers will prepare a document memorializing the agreement through stipulations, a marital settlement agreement, or a court order. The mediator, in an equitable distribution case, cannot prepare the final documents for signing. The mediator may prepare a non-binding memorandum as an aid to the parties or their attorneys in drafting the agreement.
What is the Advantage of Having a Divorce Mediator?
A certified mediator acts as an independent third party during private divorce discussions. The mediator attempts to assist the parties to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to them both. The mediator helps guide divorcing couples in reaching an agreement that they deem fair and acceptable.
Lawyers guard the rights of clients, assist them in understanding their options and obligations, and advocate for their interests. Mediators assist the clients and their lawyers in reaching a mutually acceptable and fair agreement rather than have a court tell the parties how the matter is to be resolved. The parties, working together, mutually come to an agreement. Self-determination, with the assistance of a mediator, is the name of this game. Divorcing spouses can save time, resources and avoid unnecessary conflict by choosing to work together to resolve problems fairly with the assistance of a mediator.
At Perry, Bundy, Plyler & Long, LLP, we offer expert Monroe, NC mediation services. Our mediators are trained and certified and regularly assist divorcing spouses in coming to a reasonable agreement.
What’s the Benefit of Having an Attorney as a Divorce Mediator?
Since divorce is a legal process, it usually ends up before a judge. Having a mediator who is a lawyer is an advantage because they know the courts’ expectations on divorce agreements. A certified divorce mediator who’s an attorney is also in a better position to help parties understand the divorce process. An attorney-mediator, however, cannot give either party legal advice, but they will know how the law applies to the issues being mediated by the parties.
What if Children Are Involved?
The mediation process can address matters of child custody and a parenting plan. The custody parenting plan is a crucial element in divorce agreements. In court-ordered mediation through the court system, child support is not addressed by the mediator. Should the parties wish to mediate child support along with custody and parenting plans, they should consider hiring a private mediator. Regardless of which mediation route the parties attempt, it is the primary concern of the courts that no undue harm comes to children in a divorce action. Using the services of a knowledgeable mediator can be of great advantage in mediating matters relating to children appropriately.
If you have more questions on divorce mediation in Union County, do not hesitate to call our law firm at: (704) 469-5523.
With over 110 years of combined legal experience, you can trust your case with us.
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