There are many different ways to settle the terms of a divorce. For some couples, a mediated divorce is the best way to resolve their differences and ensure that their needs are met. Mediated divorces involve one or more sessions with your spouse, a mediator, and your attorney.
No matter how amicable a divorce is or isn’t, it is still a legal process. Unlike past divorces, traditional litigation is not always necessary to work out the terms of the marital split. Instead, some couples opt for mediation to help settle their differences and negotiate the terms of their divorce. In doing this, they can avoid going to court entirely.
Mediation is a negotiation process that utilizes an impartial third-party known as the mediator. Their job is to facilitate dispute resolution by getting each side to understand the other spouse’s position, focus on their interests, and come up with creative ways to solve problems so that the couple can reach their own agreements. The mediator can help them with issues such as alimony, child support, child custody, asset division, and other issues that may arise. Even if you decide to pursue a mediated divorce, it’s still crucial to have a Huntsville divorce lawyer represent you.
Once you hire a mediator, the process begins with a “general caucus.” During this meeting, the mediator will lay out the ground rules for both parties, including a confidentiality requirement. Your Huntsville divorce lawyer is typically present at any mediation session. Each party or their attorney will make opening statements that will pinpoint and clarify the issues at hand.
Ideally, with the mediator’s encouragement, the parties can start discussing their desires during this meeting. However, if one or both parties are overly emotional or even hostile, the mediator will separate them and hold “private caucuses,” so they are not in the same room. The mediator can go back and forth between them, holding discussions to help them reach an agreement.
There isn’t a requirement that the parties in mediation must make an agreement. Not every couple is able to resolve their disputes in this manner. At the end of the session, the mediator will attempt to meet with both parties at the same time. If they have not reached agreements on their issues, the mediator will encourage them to schedule another session. Litigation may become the next option if the couple cannot reach agreements after one or more mediation sessions.
If they have come to an agreement, the mediator will ask both spouses to sign a settlement to make their agreement official. If they do sign, it becomes a legally binding contract. It is enforceable in the same way other contracts are enforceable. Your Huntsville divorce attorney should carefully review the agreement before you sign it, and you should have the opportunity to ask questions.
Most of the time, there is no record or evidence of the mediation meeting. The only document that might be produced is the settlement agreement.
Our seasoned Huntsville divorce attorneys are highly skilled in developing a strategy that will get you through your divorce in the best way possible – with the best outcomes and least amount of emotional stress. We will partner with you to determine if a mediated divorce is the option for considering your unique needs and circumstances. If you decide to pursue mediation, we will be by your side. Get the legal help you need with your divorce by calling Cloud, Ryan & Rouse today at 256-801-1000 or using our convenient online contact form.
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