Many couples who are considering getting a divorce wonder whether there are alternatives to a contested divorce, such as divorce mediation, and whether it is right for them. Mediation is a confidential process in which a neutral party, such as a family law attorney, helps couples come to a mutually acceptable divorce agreement. 

In today’s blog post, The Law Office Of Ronald Kossack is sharing the steps in the divorce mediation process. Continue reading to learn more, and if you’re in need of a Tempe divorce lawyer, contact us today.

Introductory Stage

The first stage of the divorce mediation process sets the stage for the rest of the mediation. In this step, you provide the mediator with background information about your situation and the mediator will explain how the process will work. Your divorce mediator will suggest an approach that should provide you with a good chance of reaching an agreement. 

In this introductory stage, you will outline the issues that you and your spouse agree on, as well as where you disagree. This helps everyone layout an agenda for the rest of the divorce mediation process.

Information Gathering

In order for divorce mediation to be successful, the mediator needs to have as much information as possible about the case. That means you and your spouse need to be honest and bring as much information as possible. For example, you may need to provide the policy number and details for your life insurance policy. If you can’t locate this information, the mediator may help you figure out ways to get that information. 

You will also need to bring in financial documents such as tax returns and mortgage statements. As you progress, the mediator will collect and summarize the information you are bringing to them. They will also provide you with a todo list to help you understand what type of information you need to bring to your divorce mediation sessions. 

This stage in the process may take multiple sessions, especially if you need to do a lot of outside work to gather the necessary information. 

Framing

In this stage, the divorce lawyer will help each party outline what outcomes they would like from the divorce, as well as their reasons behind wanting these outcomes. It’s vital to clearly state individual concerns, priorities, goals, and values. Divorce lawyers often refer to these as “needs and interests.” 

Identifying these needs and interests helps frame the goal of the mediation: finding a resolution that addresses each spouse’s most important needs. These may include property and debt division, child custody, and child support.

Often, the needs and interests of spouses will overlap, and it is the mediator’s job to help address these concerns. It’s not always possible to come to an agreement that satisfies the full interests of both parties, but a mediator can help you come to a satisfactory agreement.

Some divorce mediators may have separate sessions with each spouse, while others may have them together, allowing each party to hear the other’s goals.

Negotiating

Once everyone’s interests are clearly outlined, it’s time to negotiate and come to an acceptable settlement. This stage typically begins with the divorce lawyer outlining the potential options. With the help of the divorce mediator, the spouses will explore and evaluate the options, narrowing them down to ones that work for both of them. 

Remember that finding a final agreement will involve compromises for both parties. The divorce lawyer will help you focus on finding solutions and focus on problem-solving rather than on loss or bargaining. 

Conclusion

At the end of the divorce mediation process, the divorce lawyer will draw up a tentative settlement agreement. This written agreement will be given to both spouses to review with their own advisers. This memorandum can then be used as the basis for preparing a formal settlement agreement that will eventually be filed with the court.

If mediation has been successful, you will have an uncontested divorce case that moves more smoothly through the courts. If you have a divorce mediator who is also a divorce lawyer, they can file the agreement with the court. However, it is a good idea to have your own divorce lawyer look over the agreement on your behalf. If you are in need of a divorce lawyer in Tempe, contact us today.

The Law Office of Ronald Kossack – Tempe Divorce Lawyer

Along with providing legal representation, The Law Office of Ronald Kossack also services as a divorce mediator. He is proud to provide clients in Tempe and the surrounding area with top-notch divorce and family law services. If you are considering going through the mediation process, we provide free consultations. We believe that everyone should have the burden of legalities of divorce removed so that they can focus on what matters — their family. Contact us today to get started.