Posted by Scott David Stewart, Friday, February 17, 2012
You can settle some or all of the disputed issues in your divorce with alternative dispute resolution – we’re talking about voluntary divorce mediation.
As hotly contested a divorce as yours may be, amicable resolutions are always possible with the assistance of a trained mediator. The mediator has been trained to facilitate agreements between you and your spouse, to help you settle matters between yourselves. Even with your do-it-yourself divorce, resolving disputes through mediation really is possible.
Arizona Divorce Mediation.
Mediation offers confidentiality, compromise, a greater understanding of each other’s legal positions, and more predictable results in the divorce. Of course there are no guarantees that mediation will solve all of your problems, but in a DIY divorce attending mediation helps balance the playing field.
A professional mediator is trained to maintain an atmosphere of respectful dialogue. He or she will also help you and your spouse focus on core disputes, effectively narrowing the scope of your issues. With the mediator’s guidance, you may find that you and the other party agree on more points than you originally believed (or that the court papers indicated). Mediation is possible even when one spouse has retained legal counsel while the other has not. Typically, the spouses (and their attorneys, if any) meet with the mediator initially as a group. Thereafter, if either participant feels intimidated and to maintain balance, the mediator may separate the spouses into different rooms along with their attorneys and caucus between them. To further protect your interests in the divorce, be mindful that you are always free to consult with an attorney before you sign a binding settlement agreement.
How to Approach Mediation.
When mediating a dispute, you and your spouse must be honest and not withhold information that is important to resolving the issues presented. For example, if you are concerned that your spouse lacks the parenting skills to care for your infant child during parenting time, then you need to make that concern known to the mediator. Then work toward a solution, perhaps asking the other parent to participate in a series of parenting classes.
You should also know that amicable alternative dispute resolution does not mean unemotional dispute resolution. Sometimes the issues presented raise intense feelings; discussions can become too emotional to be productive. Once again, it is not unusual for the mediator to physically separate the parties and caucus between them, going room-to-room if they cannot remain calm and reasonable together.
When you and your spouse agree to participate in mediation, you both should approach the sessions with open minds and be willing to accept creative and flexible solutions. You are expected to be courteous toward each other and toward the neutral mediator attempting to help you resolve your legal concerns. You are expected to be reasonable and cooperate with the mediator’s efforts. However, you are not expected to give in on all the issues. When an alternative offered through mediation is unacceptable to you, then the unresolved issue will be decided by the Court.
Every Disputed Issue Has Mediation Potential.
Any divorce issue can be mediated including child custody and parenting time, how child support will be paid, the division of assets and debts, the payment of spousal maintenance, and even the continued operation of a family business after the divorce is final. In avoiding litigation and trial through compromise and settlement, you and your spouse stay in control of your family matters.