If a judge or an attorney has brought up divorce mediation to you, you may be wondering what this is. Divorce mediation is an out-of-court dispute resolution tool that allows you and your ex to reasonably settle your case out of court and on your own terms. Typically, when a couple is disputing terms of the divorce, such as child custody, child support, asset division and alimony, the courts will request mediation take place. During mediation, both parties work with a mediator to come to a prospective settlement. This can help alleviate some of the overcrowding taking place in family law courts, as well as help you avoid the time, cost and stress associated with a full divorce trial. If a settlement can be reached during mediation, you can avoid almost all of the court appearances that would otherwise be required.
You can expect the first meeting with a mediator to last about one to two hours. During the first meeting, both you and your ex will talk about what issues you are having and what you want from the divorce settlement. Based on this information, the mediator will be able to determine what the issues are and what is holding up an agreement. the mediator will also work to gather all relevant financial and personal information. If an agreement is not reached during the first mediation session, more meetings will be scheduled, each lasting about one to two hours, as long as progress is being made. During these meetings, the mediator may bring up a couple of the issues that you are your spouse disagree about, such as child custody. They can then help you work through the issue by listening to the concerns of both parties and suggesting solutions. If an agreement is reached on all issues, the mediator will draft an agreement that can be reviewed and signed by all parties and their attorneys. If an agreement is not reached, the parties are referred back to the courts where the case may be calendered for a trial.
If you have to go through a divorce, you may be wondering how mediation differs from having a divorce lawyer. A divorce lawyer helps support and guide you with your legal decisions. A mediator is simply there to seek a resolution, not look out for your best interests. They facilitate what is going on and can’t advise on any legal questions. As such, it is still important to have an attorney advise you as to whether the mediation agreement is fair to you before you sign it.
If you are going through divorce mediation in Utah, you may wish to have an attorney by your side. There are many benefits to having a mediation attorney represent you through the mediation portion of the divorce. Some of those benefits include:
To learn more about whether divorce mediation is right for you, contact Salt Lake County mediation attorneys at Schmidt Law. We have experienced divorce mediation professionals who can help you with your case. Contact us at (801) 990-6390 today for a free 30-minute case evaluation.