What You Need to Know About Mediation in a Divorce Settlement

Posted on August 10, 2016 05:19pm
What You Need to Know About Mediation in a Divorce Settlement

How Does Mediation Work in Divorce?

Mediation is a dispute resolution method often used to negotiate a divorce settlement. In divorce cases that involve mediation, the couple hires a third party who is neutral to both parties to serve as mediator. The mediator is responsible for helping the couple resolve issues through guided discussion so that both parties are satisfied and agree with the result.

Here's what the divorce mediation process can look like:

  • Introduction: The mediator will first meet with both parties separately to explain how the process will work and gain some information on the issues that need to be resolved and each party's goals.
  • Information gathering: Then, the mediator will conduct sessions to gather additional information and review relevant documents, such as financial statements.
  • Negotiation: Once the information gathering is complete, the mediator will negotiate a settlement agreement with both sides by providing suggestions and different options available.
  • Conclusion and settlement: If both parties are able to agree on an acceptable solution for all the issues, then the agreement will be drafted and signed by each party. This will then be filed with the court and become a legally binding document.

It is recommended that you hire an attorney to represent your best interests during the process. Your spouse will likely have one, so you should have one as well.

What Are the Benefits of Using Mediation for Divorce?

Although mediation can be one of the most amicable ways a couple can reach agreements in the divorce process, many do not understand the benefits of using such a method. Our Oregon divorce lawyers have listed some of the advantages of using mediation:

  • Control: The parties involved in the marriage control the process rather than the court.
  • Cost: In many cases, mediation is less expensive than a series of court hearings or a court trial.
  • Less Conflict: Mediation allows for parties to communicate openly, which can prevent future conflicts from occurring.
  • Personalized: Mediation provides divorcing couples with freedom to tailor personalized solutions that you can’t get in court, using your own ideas about what you think is fair and will work for your particular situation.
  • Privacy: Mediation is confidential, so public records will never store what occurs during your sessions.
  • Preserve Relationships: Mediation can also help to preserve a good working relationship between the parties, which can be extremely beneficial, especially if you have children together.

Couples can still involve lawyers to provide legal counsel and advice through the mediation process.

When Will Mediation Not Work for My Divorce?

There are some situations in which mediation may not be successful. Typically, this happens when the spouses are simply unable to communicate effectively – if they are not talking, if every conversation turns into a fight, or if either party is unwilling to compromise.

Mediation may also not work if there is domestic violence involved and one party is afraid of the other party.

Agreements reached in mediation are not legally binding until they are signed and filed with the court.

Should Couples Who Choose Mediation Still Involve Divorce Lawyers?

The short answer to this question is yes. Couples who choose to negotiate with one another through mediation should each seek legal representation from an experienced lawyer in order to avoid unnecessary problems and issues from arising. For instance, a spouse wishing to avoid paying spousal or child support or one who may be trying to delay proceedings may slow the mediation process. Your family law attorney can help both parties remain on track so that the entire divorce process is streamlined from start to finish.

Additionally, a family lawyer is permitted to attend any mediation sessions with you, if necessary, in order to ensure your rights and future are safeguarded. You may also wish for your attorney to prepare the final settlement agreement that will finalize your divorce.

Considering Divorce? We Invite You to Contact McKinley Irvin Today.

If you are considering filing for divorce, we encourage you to contact our team of Portland divorce attorneys at McKinley Irvin. We understand that family law-related matters can be stressful, and we are here to stand by your side should you choose to work with us.

To speak with a member of our team, call us today or submit a consultation request online.

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