Divorce can be a difficult, lengthy, expensive experience, but it doesn’t have to be. Divorce mediation offers an easier, cheaper way to go about ending a marriage, and in fact Arizona courts will require you to try mediation before you actually ever go to court. Here is everything you need to know about how divorce mediation works in Arizona.
What Does a Mediator Do?
Whether you use a court-appointed mediator or opt for a private mediator, the process is more or less the same. The mediator will review documentation, such as income and expenses, and discuss the issues with both parties to try to find out what you each want out of the divorce agreement. As you discuss back and forth, the mediator will act as a neutral go-between to help guide the negotiations. The end result is a divorce settlement that is fine tuned to both your and your ex’s needs, as both of you will have had a hand in drafting it.
Do We Have To Be in the Same Room?
Many people fear having to face their ex during divorce mediation. Not to worry, though; the mediators are experienced with this and realize the tension and emotion a face-to-face encounter would trigger. The mediator’s goal is to arrive at an agreement as quickly and easily as possible, so naturally they’ll want to minimize any conflict produced by a face-to-face meeting. Most likely you’ll be placed in separate rooms, each of you with your own attorney, with the mediator going back and forth between you. Don’t hesitate to let your attorney know if you absolutely do not want to be in the same room as your ex, though, and your attorney can make doubly certain it doesn’t happen.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
Divorce mediation may be required by the courts before you can move on to litigation, but there are actually a lot of good reasons why you should start with mediation. Mediation is less expensive than litigation, for one thing, but it can also produce a resolution much faster than taking the case to court. In addition, people are more likely to follow the terms of the divorce settlement willingly if they helped in the decision-making process, meaning less time spent in court trying to enforce the divorce agreement, too.
Do I Still Need a Lawyer?
While divorce mediation can help you arrive at a resolution faster and easier than going to court, it’s still important to have a lawyer. A lawyer can handle all communication with your ex, for starters, allowing you to avoid fighting that would muddy the negotiations. Your lawyer is also a legal expert who can ensure everything is done correctly and that you don’t get taken advantage of. A mediator is not a lawyer, and in any case, must remain neutral, so they can’t give you legal advice or represent your best interests.
What Happens If We Can’t Reach an Agreement?
If you are unable to come to an agreement with your ex while working with the mediator, you will have no choice but to take the case to court. Mediation arrives at a settlement in the majority of cases, but there are times when one or both parties are unwilling to negotiate, and the court needs to intervene.
Choosing the Right Attorney
Before you head into divorce mediation, it’s important to find an attorney you can trust to look out for your best interests. For more information about our practice or to meet with us to discuss your options, contact Simon Law Group, PLLC, today.