NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Last Updated on: 2nd October 2023, 06:51 pm
Some couples are able to agree on mutually favorable terms without the assistance of a third-party when going through a divorce. However, it is more common for couples to not agree on the terms of their divorce because of overwhelming emotions that are making it difficult to see eye to eye on things like alimony, dividing assets, and child custody arrangements. Couples in these situations may find that mediation is helpful.
Learn More about Mediation
Mediation involves a divorcing couple consulting with an impartial third party who has received specific training in the art of mediation. Their goal is not to make decisions for the couple. The final decisions are always made by the divorcing couple. The mediator is there to steer the conversation in a productive and positive direction and help them work through their disputes.
Why Mediation Can Be Beneficial
Couples who need help agreeing on and finalizing important details of their divorce may turn to a mediator. Mediation is often a good option for the following reasons.
• Court disputes are expensive, so mediation can save the couple money.
• Both spouses have a say in their divorce, and the final decision is left up to them.
• Open communication is encouraged, which leads to less stress.
• All proceedings are confidential.
Basic Steps of the Mediation Process
If you have determined that the assistance of a mediator will help you solve disputes in your divorce, it is good for you to understand the mediation process. You will work closely with your attorney in preparation for mediation. Before the day of your mediation proceedings, you and your Los Angeles divorce attorney will discuss disputes that you have with your spouse and how to defend your position. You will also gather information to support your case, like important documents and evidence.
Everything starts with an initial meeting. You, your spouse, and the mediator will meet together and look at the guidelines for the mediation process. If you and your spouse agree, you both can have your lawyers present. All proceedings are confidential, and everyone who is in the meeting is expected to honor that agreement. The goal of the mediator is to move the discussion in a positive direction, not make decisions.
Each spouse can make an opening statement during the meeting. This allows each individual to talk about problems they would like to discuss and how they would like the problems resolved.
A joint session can be arranged if the mediator would like to talk more with the couple. If the couple is willing, the mediator may ask questions about their disputes and request that they be answered in an open and honest way.
Individual sessions can be helpful since spouses who choose to use a mediator cannot reach an agreement on how their divorce proceedings should continue. Individual sessions involve the mediator speaking with each spouse separately, perhaps going back and forth between each individual and sharing what has been said.
A joint discussion can be arranged again once progress has been made and the discussion is at the point of negotiation and settlement. The goal is to help the spouses make a decision that they mutually agree on. If the mediator is able to help each spouse come to an agreement, it may be written out and signed by each individual in the moment. This serves as a legally binding contract.
How Divorce Attorneys in Los Angeles Can Help You
Are you and your spouse having a hard time making mutually agreeable decisions as you go through your divorce? If so, you may want to consider mediation. This is a powerful tool that can be used to work through disputes and tough issues. Call Spodek Law Group today and see if this is the right option for your situation.
Our team of attorneys have many years of family legal experience. We have helped our divorcing clients in the past to reach decisions that were mutually beneficial using mediation. If you and your spouse cannot see eye to eye and you don’t want the frustration and costs associated with court, call us to learn more about mediation. We offer our clients free consultations. This will give you the chance to have your questions answered.
Can divorce mediation agreements be changed?
Understanding Divorce Settlement Agreements Mediation It is possible for a person to enter into a mediated divorce settlement agreement for the wrong reasons. The situation at the time could have caused one spouse to feel they had no choice but to sign the agreement. It’s possible they got bad legal advice or had pressure put on them from certain family member and more. Should they regret entering into the agreement; there are things that can be done to change it. Learn more about mediation here. Mediation is a procedure that in some ways resembles litigation. Each spouse will agree to follow specific procedures as well as rules of law. What will be contained in their agreement is left to an arbiter or referee to decide. The role of an arbiter in this situation is to help both parties participate in the outcome of the divorce. A couple will be responsible for solving their marital issues on their own. The goal of the mediation is to create terms for a divorce that each spouse will agree is best for their individual situation. It’s important for divorcing couples to know an arbiter’s decision is binding. The divorce settlement agreement will be submitted to a Supreme Court judge for confirmation. A party may have grounds for an appeal if they can prove the arbiter’s decision was made arbitrarily or was based on mistakes. Motions It is possible to ask a court to modify a divorce judgment. This will require a legal motion to the court known as a motion to modify. It is possible during the court trial to ask for specific portions of the divorce agreement to be changed. This can be done even if the agreement has been signed and the divorce judgment entered into the legal record. The arrangements for spousal support, child support as well as visitation schedules can be changed with this motion. It is often made when something unexpected occurs during the proceedings. It could be one spouse being laid off from their job, a spouse being arrested for drugs or incarcerated and more. Appeals Should the mediated agreement be accepted by a court, it’s possible to appeal this decision to a higher court. The fact someone felt forced to sign the agreement or experienced some other type of extenuating circumstance could be the reason for the appeal. These circumstances will form the basis for the appeal and will be written in a brief filed with the court by an individual’s attorney. It will argue the trial court judge made the wrong decision based on the arguments described in the brief. Reopening Divorce Case It is also possible to submit an application to reopen a divorce case. This will only be successful if the person requesting it is able to show mistaken negotiations took place, there was fraud or misconduct. It may also be granted if the party requesting the action is able to show the divorce agreement is based on unfairness and inequity. Doing this can be a challenge. A person requesting it must be able to provide solid proof the divorce agreement was based on a serious mistake, fraud or deceit. Learn more about legal proceedings here. The Role of an Attorney The goal of an attorney during a divorce proceeding is to help their client have a sense of control over what is happening in their life. Things can go wrong, and it is possible to still find an acceptable resolution when this happens. In many cases, court intervention may not be needed but can always be used if necessary.
Why Divorce Mediation: My Observations as a Litigator and Mediator
Going through a divorce is almost certain to be an emotionally draining process. There is so much to take care from a financial, family, and personal perspective that it can seem overwhelming even to the most stable of relationships. Even if you are fortunate enough to be going through an amicable divorce where your soon to be ex-spouse and you will remain friends, the process is still going to be difficult. There are options when it comes to your divorce, including either mediation or litigation. Depending on the complexity of the divorce proceedings and how much there is to be divided out of the marriage, you might want to consider your alternatives before making a decision. Many attorneys are both litigators and certified mediators. As such, they are well positioned to help advise you as to which way you should proceed given your unique situation. Generally speaking, most lawyers have found that couples who go through a divorce mediation process end up much happier and more satisfied in the end than those who go through litigation. While there is no scientific evidence of this per say, it is a general feeling that should not be discounted. Many couple who end up going through mediation actually walk out of the process together and largely unified. In fact, many of the couples will walk out of each mediation session together, indicating that they are truly partners in working on ending this chapter of their lives in an effective and productive manner. One lawyer recounts a particular case that illustrates this point well. The case had been settled and the attorney looked out the window to see the couple hugging in the parking lot before releasing from one another’s grasp and going to their cars. While couples hugging in the parking lot after a divorce mediation might not be the norm, it is certainly not the rare occurrence that many people would have you believe. Divorce does not have to be ugly. Just because two people fall out of love does not mean that they cannot remain friends, or at least maintain some semblance of an adult relationship built on mutual respect for one another. That is part of what the mediation process is designed to bring out of a couple. Any couple going through a divorce was, at one time, closer to each other than anyone else in their life. They loved the other person with all of their heart. This does not go away easily. Sure, there might be some bad feelings along the way when going through a divorce, but that does not mean both parties cannot be sensible about the division of marital assets. A court of law, or litigation, is not always needed to get through even the most sensitive of matters.
Now, let’s talk about divorce cases that end up in litigation for a moment.
It seems that couples who go about the divorce in this manner almost always leave the court room separately. It is not amicable. One lawyer will walk out of the room with his client, while the other walks out through another door with his client. It seems to be a rare occurrence where the couple is actually seen walking out together after the proceeding, in contrast to a mediation. In fact, many lawyers find that couples who do end up walking out of the courtroom after a litigation proceeding only do so because they are coordinating a pick up or drop off with the children.
What about the expense involved in a divorce?
As you can imagine, cases that go through mediation are typically must less expensive in the long run than those that go through litigation. There is a great deal of money on the table when the court system gets involved. Remember that a divorce can already be expensive for one party or the other. There are child and spousal support issues to consider, marital assets, business interests, and so much more. The longer that these issues get argued about in a court of law, the more expensive it is going to become for everyone in the end. On the other hand, mediations often shorten the amount of time required for a divorce to be finalized, In fact, many divorces can be completely finalized with only one mediation session. This is far more advantageous to both parties than going through a lengthy litigation process. During the mediation, each person has the opportunity to express their concerns and to state what they need to get out of the divorce. In many cases, these can be resolved quite easily. With litigation, the process can be dragged out for up to a year in some of the more complex cases. That is no way to productively end a relationship. A professional lawyer will tell you that they take great pride in seeing a couple work out their issues through mediation. Everyone seems to come out much happier in the end. This is particularly true when there are children involved. When they can be spared the emotional trauma of watching their parents duke it out in court, everyone seems to be a bit more satisfied with the end resolution. It is also healthy to see two adults decide to go their separate ways in life, but to do so with their heads high and with a great deal of respect for one another. That is a major benefit of the mediation process. To be fair, not all divorces can go through mediation. For those cases, litigation is the best option, but that still does not mean that both parties have to leave the process as enemies. If you are about to go through a divorce, contact Long Island Divorce Lawyers for a consultation. Allow us to go over your options with you so you can decide on the best way to proceed with your separation. We look forward to helping you get on with your life.