Ensuring the outcome of your divorce is fair requires taking certain key steps. Chief among them is finding the right divorce lawyers. You need legal professionals on your side to provide adequate representation.
That said, there are cases in which it may also be helpful to coordinate with a divorce mediator.
What is divorce mediation? Why would you choose mediation? The following points will clarify the topic, helping you better understand the valuable role a mediator can play in divorce proceedings.
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What is divorce mediation, and how does it work?
Coming to an agreement that’s acceptable to both parties can be challenging in a divorce. To overcome these hurdles, both parties sometimes hire a third party to assist in mediation. Additionally, to guard against spending hours and hours of valuable court time arguing over various issues and details, sometimes a family law judge will order mediation. Issues that may trigger mediation include, but are not limited to:
The specific details of the mediation process may vary on a case-by-case basis. A mediator will often schedule an initial introductory meeting, giving them a chance to outline their approach to mediation. They may also be willing to answer your questions or listen to your insights. Sometimes a mediator will proceed with one-on-one sessions, and sometimes they will decide it’s more productive for both parties to be involved in all mediation sessions. Typically, however, a mediator will serve as a neutral party. Their primary responsibility is to ensure both parties can work through their differences in a manner that’s as healthy and fair as possible. A mediator should not seem to be taking one party’s side, nor should they seem to be making all the decisions. On the contrary, their job is to help the parties involved make key decisions on their own.
This is not always easy. Sometimes it’s genuinely not possible. It’s important to understand that mediation doesn’t necessarily have to lead to a resolution of all issues or disputes. This is true even if a judge ordered the parties to engage in the divorce mediation process. However, if a judge issues such an order, but the two parties fail to make certain essential decisions during mediation, the judge will often have the right to make those decisions on behalf of the parties. Thus, it may be in your best interests to treat mediation as a productive step, although you always want to consult with your divorce attorney to ensure you’re getting a genuinely fair deal.
How much does it cost to mediate divorce, and what happens afterward
The cost of divorce mediation in Florida depends on a range of factors. That said, if the combined income of the two parties is less than $100,000, reduced rates are often available. This is particularly true if the mediation was court-ordered.
It’s also worth noting that mediation can help you save a lot of money in the long run. If mediation is successful, helping you resolve key issues more quickly than you otherwise would, you can avoid drawing out your divorce longer than necessary.
That’s worth remembering. You might be wondering, “How long after mediation is divorce final?” That depends on the degree to which it is successful. In general, however, a successful mediation ends with a mediator (sometimes working with your divorce lawyers) drafting an official agreement to be included in your divorce paperwork. This is submitted to the judge, who may then accept your agreement and finalize the divorce in as little as 30 days.
Benefits of the Divorce Mediation Process
The mediation process isn’t ideal in all cases. For instance, if domestic abuse has occurred, it may be in the best interests of everyone to keep the parties separate. It would be difficult to arrange productive mediation sessions in these circumstances. In general, because mediators can’t make legal decisions but can merely facilitate them when two parties can’t cooperate for any legitimate reason, mediation may not be the best option.
However, there are many cases in which mediation is ideal. The following are key reasons it may be a smart choice:
You may need to maintain some degree of connection with your former spouse after a divorce is finalized. For example, perhaps you’re sharing custody of your children. Mediation can reduce the antagonism between the two of you, providing for a healthier post-divorce relationship.
Sharing Your Concerns
Family court judges tend to be busy people. Thus, sometimes, parties involved in divorce cases feel their concerns aren’t being heard. Mediation guards against this by giving everyone a chance to express their feelings.
Again, just as mediation can save you money, so too can it save you time. If your divorce has been interfering with your lifestyle in other ways, this may be attractive to you.
Alternatives to the Mediation Process
Before entering into mediation, you may want to know about alternatives worth considering. They include:
Perhaps you’re not ready to accept divorce as inevitable just yet. It may be possible to address your issues and salvage a marriage. If you believe this to be the case, and your spouse agrees, you can enter into pre-divorce counseling. This involves attempting to reconcile your differences (with help from a relevant professional) before moving forward with divorce proceedings.
As the name implies, premarital counseling involves working with professionals before getting married to ensure both you and your future spouse are equipped with key skills. These may be related to finance management, childcare, communication skills, and other issues which can cause challenges in a marriage. Consider taking such action if you’re getting married soon. Doing so will help you manage future challenges in healthy ways.
Of course, the thought of a divorce is understandably stressful. That’s why it’s important to consult with a qualified divorce attorney whenever you have questions. At Golden Key Law Group, we pride ourselves on helping our clients successfully manage and navigate these difficult situations. To learn more about what we can do for you, contact us online today.