The moments, days, or possibly even the years leading up to a divorce can be quite tumultuous. The divorce process also tends to be stressful in and of itself. Because of this, it’s imperative that divorcing couples understand the steps involved in filing and carrying out a divorce. To make the process as simple as possible, it’s wise to be prepared. Keeping this in mind, here are a few tips for carrying out a legitimate divorce in the state of Utah.
What is Divorce Mediation?
The mediator will act as an unbiased third party. Many times, it’s very advantageous to use a mediator in a divorce case. This person will do his or her best to secure a divorce agreement between the divorcing spouses that works to the advantage of everyone involved, including any children. It should be noted that the mediator doesn’t make any decisions, rather he or she acts as a messenger or referee.
Is There Any Case Too Difficult for Utah Mediation?
Essentially, the answer is no. A mediator can step in with an unbiased opinion, helping the involved parties come to a mutual agreement that is of benefit to everyone. Regardless of the complexity of a divorce case, a mediator can be of great benefit.
Why is Mediation Important?
With a Utah mediator, the divorcing spouses can arrange the specifics of the divorce. Without a mediator, however, an arbitrator or judge will have the say-so of the final outcome. If the divorcing spouses believe that there is any way possible to agree upon a divorce arrangement, then mediation is the best route to take. This way, they will be the ones deciding their future, and there will be no third-party that steps in and decides the outcome, including alimony, child support or custody arrangements.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
The actual mediation can take place in less than a day’s time, however, it should be noted that an official divorce in the state of Utah will not be granted until 90 days have passed since the divorce petition was filed.
There are certain circumstances in which the process can be sped along, but to do this, a judge will have to sign off on the paperwork. Most times, mediations take anywhere from one to eight weeks. Both parties tend to meet with the mediator, discussing what it is that they would like to get out of the divorce. When large financial assets are involved, this will of course extend the amount of time that it takes to carry out a divorce, and this especially rings true when the parties cannot come to some type of mutual agreement as to how they would like the assets to be divided.
What If One Spouse Doesn’t Want to Get Divorced in Utah?
Utah is a no fault state, meaning if one spouse wants to get divorced, the other spouse has no say-so. The divorce will be granted, and it’s in the best interest of both parties to agree upon some type of mutual divorce settlement because there is no way to prevent the divorce from taking place.
What Types of Cases Can Be Mediated?
Almost any issue relating to a divorce in Utah can be mediated. Some of the more common issues that get mediated include the following:
- Division of assets/ debts
- Child custody issues
- Child support arrangements
- Alimony/ spousal support
- Out of state moves
- Life insurance agreements
- Tax considerations
- Family business disputes
- Parenting plans
Mediation vs Arbitration to Reach a Divorce Settlement
The main advantage of mediation is that it allows divorce cases to be carried out at a very rapid pace. As soon as the required 90 days after filing the divorce petition have passed, if mediation has been obtained and a settlement has been agreed upon, then the divorce will be final.
Another benefit is that mediation tends to cost quite a bit less than hiring lawyers to take the case before a judge. If a case goes before a judge, and possibly even goes to trial, then the associated expenses could far exceed tens of thousands of dollars; this isn’t so with a mediator. Mediation is also a betterment to all involved parties because there tends to be no need to appear before a judge whatsoever. In fact, the mediator will take the settlement before a judge and divorcing parties will not have to appear unless ordered to through a subpoena by the judge, which rarely happens.
Tips To Prepare for Mediation in Utah
Click this link to download Division of assets/ debts Utah divorce mediation forms.
If both parties are arguing over custody of the children, then proof needs to be brought proving why each party would be better suited to be granted full custody. Even if full custody is not wanted by one of the parties, then proper evidence needs to be brought showing why a certain custody arrangement would be most suitable for the children involved.
A mediator will promote a comfortable and respectful atmosphere and so should all parties involved. If a mediator sees that respect is not being given and that mediation simply isn’t possible, the case will be pushed to the courts, which could be quite costly for both divorcing parties. Because of this, regardless of the reasons that the divorce is taking place, it’s imperative that respect be shown.
3.Ask for Individual Meetings.
If at any time the atmosphere gets uncomfortable, a mediator will be fine with holding individual meetings. In fact, most mediators will hold separate meetings at first and then bring the parties together to sign a final agreement. But still yet, if a combined meeting of both parties cannot take place, this is fine, and separate meetings can always take place.
4.ALWAYS Put the Kids First.
When it comes to child custody arrangements, it’s of the utmost importance that the children’s best interest be put first. There’s no shame in both parties wanting full custody, but sometimes, a shared custody agreement or partial custody arrangement will suffice much better. Take for instance that the mother wants full custody but she works 3rd shift. If the kids are in school and the father works first shift, it may play out to the best interest of the children that full custody be awarded to the father for the duration of time that the kids are in school. No matter how much one parent wants custody of the children, their interests should always be at the heart of the custody agreement.
Divorces can be stressful and they often cause people to act like they normally would not act. Still yet, it’s pertinent to be reasonable throughout the entire process of the divorce. In doing so, both parties are more likely to get what they want. When coming up with a divorce settlement, both parties need to be reasonable, and to do this, they need to be fair.
6.Take a Break.
If a mediation meeting is causing too much stress or emotion, then it’s important to ask for the meeting to take place at a later time.
Combined checking accounts are likely to be split 50/50. Individual accounts, however, can be given to whomever owned them. Because of this, it’s imperative to bring all financial documents to each meeting so that the mediator can look over them. An experienced mediator can inform the divorcing parties of the legalities associated with the financial accounts.
8.Be Ready to Negotiate.
A successful divorce almost always require negotiation. Most likely, both parties aren’t going to get exactly what they want, but this isn’t to say that one party will and one party won’t. Instead, it means that both parties need to be prepared to negotiate, and this means taking into account what’s most important and what’s not. For example, if one party doesn’t get the family porch swing, this isn’t going to be the end of the world.
What If a Mediation Agreement Can NOT Be Reached?
In the event that the mediator cannot find mutual ground between the divorcing couple, the case will then be handed over to an arbitrator or judge. These officials do not find it favorable when cases are pushed to them.
What If One Party Decides They Don’t Want To Continue Mediation?
If a hearing has already been scheduled for the mediation to take place, then the entirety of the associated expenses will fall upon the party who opts out.
What If One Party Wants To Use a Mediator and the Other Spouse Doesn’t?
Regardless of the fact that one party wants to use a mediator, if the other party doesn’t want to use one, then this means the case will have to be handled by a judge, and this will of course get quite costly.
Can a Settlement Agreed Upon Through Mediation be Changed by a Judge?
Yes. If a judge doesn’t agree with the settlement that has been decided upon by the divorcing parties, such as the child custody arrangement, then the settlement can be changed. This rarely happens, but it is possible.
Is a Mediator a Divorce Lawyer?
No. A mediator acts like a messenger. He or she is not a lawyer because he or she doesn’t represent a particular side. Instead, he or she represents both sides, on an unbiased basis.
How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Mediator?
The fees associated with hiring a mediator vary from one mediator to another, however, the associated expenses can be waived if one and/or both parties proves that the costs would cause a financial hardship. This isn’t to imply that both parties would be exempted from paying a mediator. In order for both parties to be exempted, both would have to prove a financial hardship. On average, it will cost anywhere from $30 to $300 an hour to pay for a mediator. A typical mediation session lasts about three to four hours, and it should be noted that several sessions are usually required before a final divorce settlement is agreed upon. As with any kind of lawyer, the more experience a mediator has, the higher his or her rates will be. The associated expenses of a mediator are usually split between the divorcing couple. For example, if a mediator charges $100 an hour and four sessions are needed at one hour a piece, then the overall total would be $400; thus meaning that each divorcing spouse would owe $200 apiece.
Utah Divorce Attorney & Mediation Services
At Schmidt Law Firm Law Firm , our philosophy is to assist our clients in resolving conflict in a way that most efficiently meets their needs and goals, being mindful of the significant financial and emotional toll that these issues can take. We are dedicated to providing efficient and quality legal services to help individuals protect their rights when facing issues of family law. If you are searching for Compassionate and Cost Effective Utah Legal Services, Call us at 801-895-3113 to book your free legal consultation!