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Divorce Mediation Myths

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Dismantling Divorce Mediation Myths! Uncover the truth and bust common misconceptions surrounding divorce mediation in our latest article. Let’s navigate the facts together and pave the way for a smoother path to resolution.

What is the distinction among court-ordered mediation and private mediation?

Court-ordered mediation is a required mediation sitting ordered by the court in a divorce case. Should a judge order mediation in your divorce, and you don’t go to it, you might face penalties, such as contempt of court.

The court is going to assign a date for your court-ordered mediation, meaning neither of the spouses has control over the schedule. Usually, judges set aside court-ordered mediation for spouses dealing with child custody issues (but might also help spouses resolve pending property or financial matters.) At the conclusion of court-ordered mediation, the court-chosen mediator is going to present a written report to the judge explaining the case’s progress.

Private mediation comprises of hiring a mediator that bills by the hour or necessitates a retainer. Private mediators are usually knowledgeable family law attorneys that have been trained in divorce mediation. Both spouses are required agree to take part in mediation and agree on the mediator that is going to expedite their sessions.

Expenses differ subject to the private mediator that the couple decides on. Many mediators require an hourly rate, and others bill by session. Couples that participate in private mediation are going to have the chance to talk about child custody, visitation, support, and property division matters, and anything presented in the session is going to remain confidential and cannot be used by either spouse in court should an agreement not be reached.

How do mediating spouses safeguard their legal rights?

One of the better ways to safeguard your legal rights is to hire an advisory attorney to help guide you throughout mediation. This mediator can meet with you and:

  • Offer counsel concerning your rights and responsibilities
  • estimate child and/or spousal support on your behalf
  • create or examine your proposed mediation agreement, and
  • make recommendation or changes to safeguard your interests.

The advisory lawyer is going to help you understand the agreement’s details and let you know if the final agreement is in your best interest.

Many times, but not often, your advisory attorney might attend all of the mediation sessions with you. This is going to cost more, so you should think about whether you really need your attorney at each session.

Couples can also safeguard their legal rights by doing independent investigation prior to attending the mediation session. Even though helpful information is plentiful online, it’s always a good idea to use caution when putting your trust in the internet. When you still have questions after finishing research, think about speaking with an attorney to get correct answers to your questions.

What is the cost of mediation?

The cost of divorce mediation is subject to different factors. Court-ordered mediation is usually budget-friendly or possibly free. If your community provides a budget-friendly or sliding-scale mediation association, the costs are going to be subject to your financial limitations and other qualifying factors. Many community-backed mediation associations might ask certified attorney mediators to carry out the session for free and only ask the soon to be exes to pay a small fee to cover administrative costs.

Private mediation costs depend on the mediator. Some require the couple to pay a flat-fee up front, and others charge an hourly rate that you agree upon before the sessions begin. It’s important to discuss the costs before you choose a mediator, including whether one spouse is going to be responsible or if both are going to divide the costs equally.

How long does mediation take?

Mediation is much less laborious than going to trial for your case. Many couples work through all divorce-associated matters in just one session, whereas others might meet several times before coming to a complete agreement. The time you spend through mediation is subject on how well you communicate, the number of matters you need to resolve, and how complex your case is.

It’s no shock that from beginning to end, divorce takes a while. In most cases, mediation will help simplify the process in a way that is going to significantly reduce the time it takes to finalize your divorce. Many states have a required waiting period prior to the judge finalizing a divorce. Throughout the waiting period, a lot of couples find it beneficial (and some courts have it required) to engage in mediation to discuss how to work out their issues.

If you decline to mediate or negotiate, you will have to wait for the entire mandatory period prior to the judge even looking at your case. For instance, in Michigan, couples that have children are required to wait a minimum of 6 months prior to a judge taking on their divorce. (Mich. Comp. Laws § 552.9f.) But when couples mediate their divorce and can come to an agreement throughout that time, a judge can finalize their divorce in as little as 6 months.

How can divorcing couples find a good mediator?

One of the best sources to locating a good mediator is to ask your relatives and friends for a personal recommendation. If you aren’t able to get a personal recommendation, you can reach out to a bar association near you, community mediation association, or the court for a recommendation. If you’ve discussed your case with a divorce lawyer in your area, you can ask that lawyer for recommendations. Throughout your initial consultation with each mediator, always be sure to take the time to discuss the mediator’s knowledge, certification, and fees before deciding to progress.

Does mediation enable one spouse to control the other?

Absolutely not. A lot of states require mediators to get comprehensive training prior to taking on any cases. A mediator learns how to balance the spouses’ power, particularly when there’s a history of superiority in the marriage.

A knowledgeable and qualified mediator needs to pay close attention to the spouses and is going to use methods to address and remedy any disparities. In a lot of cases, when the mediator points out controlling behavior and the spouse persists, the mediator is going to end the session.

It’s important to comprehend that even the best mediators can be uninformed of controlling behavior if it goes on outside the sessions. For instance, when your spouse sends you intimidating messages concerning the mediation session, the mediator is unable to stop it unless you tell the mediator about it.

When there’s a history of domestic abuse in your marriage, mediation might not be the best decision for your divorce case. Through mediation, the abuser might be inclined to threaten the victim into consenting to things that are not in their best interest. In these situations, it’s advisable for the victim to hire an attorney.

Is mediation more of an inconvenience than hiring a lawyer to oversee the divorce?

Divorce is a taxing and costly process even devoid of attorneys. After you begin incurring legal fees from a knowledgeable lawyer, you can expect your divorce expenses to significantly increase.

Mediation is a process that a lot of courts use to alleviate a conventional divorce’s time and financial hindrances by cutting out the requirement for a trial or court involvement.

Despite of the route you take, divorce requires each spouse to collect relevant medical, financial, and other information so they can create an informed and appropriate final divorce agreement. Following your submission of your documents, spouses can go to a couple of mediation sessions or relinquish most of the management and petition the court to choose for them, which is going to add a considerable amount of time and cost to your divorce.

Is there a place for lawyers in mediation?

Contrary to what people say, a lot of lawyers back mediation. Lawyers realize that the average couple does not have the capital to pursue a contested divorce, so they urge couples to go to mediation open minded and with sincerity.

Even when you choose to seek mediation, you might still want to have an advisory attorney help you through the process in private. In this capacity, your attorney is not going to represent you in your judicial filings or your whole divorce case, so their name is not going appear on your filings.

Alternatively, a mediation advisory attorney’s fundamental function is to inform clients of their rights and responsibilities throughout the divorce process, to advise them through the negotiation process, create or examine any suggested settlement agreement to make sure it fulfills their needs, and prepare the required paperwork to acquire court approval of the final agreement. Whereas a lot of states forbid attorneys from charging a flat rate for divorce, many are going to charge a sensible hourly fee for their services. When the attorney requires a retainer in advance the client is going to receive a refund of any unused funding at the end of their case.

Is the mediator going to decide what’s fair?

By no means. Unlike judges or arbitrators, mediators have no authorization when it comes to making a final decision in your divorce. Mediators are trained to comprehend how to expedite the discussion and provide recommendations when the couple comes to a dead end.

An experienced mediator is going to comprehend and be informed on the divorce laws in your state. Whereas mediators are unable to give legal counsel, they can provide couples with information regarding the divorce laws in their state (for instance how the division of property is going to work in each case) and also let the couples know what they can expect should they take a specific matter to court.

Being aware and knowing how judges usually manage specific matters can help motivate one or each of spouses to negotiate a fully informed agreement. A lot of divorcing spouses wish to have some control over their divorce agreement instead of leaving it up to a judge. Nevertheless, when the spouses are unable to agree, the mediator is required to end the session devoid of an agreement, and the couple is required to petition the court to deal with any unresolved matters.

Source:

  1. Melissa Heinig, A. (2021, July 20). Understanding divorce mediation: Debunking mediation myths. www.nolo.com. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/divorce-mediation-myths-30191.html

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