The court may require both parties in a divorce to attempt mediation with a neutral preferably family law mediator. Mediation is an informal way to resolve disagreements when it comes to divorce issues such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support. The mediator helps couples—and their attorneys—find creative and mutual solutions by giving both sides the chance to discuss their problems, straighten out any misunderstandings, and find common ground to reach a final divorce agreement on amicable and respectful terms. Mediation allows the parties to reach his/her own resolution without having a judge make the determination.
Parties are typically asked to mediate twice, once at the beginning of the divorce proceedings to obtain temporary orders which remain in place through the duration of the divorce and a second time for a final order in the hopes the parties do not have to have a final trial on the merits. In either case, if the parties reach an agreement it will cut down on the costs of the divorce significantly as hearings and trials are costly and time consuming.
The following are the benefits of divorce mediation compared to court litigation:
- Faster – Through mediation, a divorce can be finalized much faster since couples can schedule a time that works well with everyone. When a divorce case goes to court, the legal process can take several months or years because couples are at the whim of the opposing party and the court’s schedule.
- Less costly – Mediation saves money because if a settlement on temporary orders or for final orders is reached, it is binding and cuts down on money which would be spent on long hearings or trial.
- Confidential – The mediation process is confidential and cannot be used in court if parties do not reach an agreement; the mediator cannot be called to testify to the proceedings and if an agreement is reached the parties do not have to endure having personal information aired in open court.
- Control – The couple has the power to decide the terms of their divorce agreement, while the mediator simply negotiates those terms. Both parties must agree, or else there is no final agreement.
- Favorable results – At the end of court litigation, the judge will decide a winner and loser. By contrast, mediation can result in both parties being satisfied with the outcome of their case.
- Preserve relationships – Divorce can be an emotionally overwhelming experience, especially for the children. The adversarial litigation process can cause significant emotional harm to the kids. But while both parties will no longer be married, they will always be parents to their children. When couples can work out their disagreements together during divorce mediation, they will be able to successfully co-parent in the future, which significantly benefits your kids.
If the parties attend mediation in the presence of each of their lawyers and reach a settlement through the mediator, the agreement is binding and can be turned into an enforceable court order. The mediation can take care of temporary orders or a final order from which a decree of divorce can be finalized.
At Kutty Law Firm, PLLC, Attorney Kutty can help you navigate the mediation process and help you and your spouse come to a mutual divorce agreement. Once you reach an agreement, she can create a Rule 11 Agreement for the finalization of your divorce proceeding.
For more information about divorce mediation, contact us at (713) 955-7477 and schedule a consultation today.