Divorce is common; in fact, half of all marriages end with the couple divorcing. If you are facing a divorce, it’s important to understand the process and all your potential options. Contrary to popular belief, divorces do not all proceed the same way. There are different ways to restructure your changing family.
In some situations, one or both members of a divorcing couple are angry, hostile, bitter, jealous, or generally upset. Though this is understandable, it means that it’s best if attorneys speak on behalf of each party in court. In other situations, a divorcing couple is amicable and calm and wishes no ill will toward one another. In these situations, divorce mediation may be appropriate.
Mediation is a way to resolve legal disputes without courtroom litigation. In mediation, one impartial third party (the mediator) hears the perspective of both parties. After, the mediator helps the two agree on an outcome or compromise. Rather than arguing with one another, the two parties and the mediator collaborate to find a solution that works for everyone.
In divorce mediation, the mediator will help the members of a divorcing couple determine who should get which assets in the divorce. Rather than being forced to give up certain items or split things a certain way, the couple can negotiate on their own and figure out what feels fair and best for each person.
After an agreement is solidified, it has to be approved by the court. This is to ensure that the agreement is legal and no one was taken advantage of. However, the time spent in court is much shorter than in courtroom litigation divorces.
Benefits of Divorce Mediation
It’s important to understand the ways in which mediation may benefit your divorce process. While it may make more sense to proceed with litigation in court in some situations, in other cases, the benefits outweigh any potential discomfort or complications with the process.
In many cases, divorce mediation is:
- Cost-effective. Going through the mediation process costs far less money than hiring separate attorneys and arguing in court. You save on lawyer and court fees when you mediate.
- Personal. Many couples find their ultimate agreement to be more personally attentive and fair in mediation. This is due to each party having the opportunity to speak their mind directly, rather than having to filter through an attorney. What’s more, most people in mediation are not trying to seek revenge against their spouse. The same cannot be said for courtroom divorce.
- Faster. Though you will still have to wait six months from the date of filing for your divorce to be final, the process of negotiating assets is typically much faster through mediation. Courtroom schedules can easily change, and many people experience delays.
Mediation does not work for all couples, however. It’s important to understand mediation as a resource available to you, should your situation allow for or warrant it.
Child Custody and Child Support
There are many different components to negotiating a divorce. Some couples have few assets to split, while others have several. Many couples must also consider child custody during divorce proceedings. Fortunately, mediation can help with this, as well.
The process to determine child custody through mediation is much the same as with divorce. The court is very strict about ensuring that a child’s best interest is at heart in child custody agreements. For the court to approve the agreement, the arrangement must truly be fair and to the benefit of the child.
During custody and support mediation, the couple will discuss their children’s needs, their own ability to provide for the children, as well as family schedules. With the mediator, they will develop a child custody schedule that works for them both. The court will approve the agreement if both parents are contributing equally in some way. If this is the case and the court approves it, it becomes legally binding.
During divorce mediation, a couple may have to determine spousal support. This is when a higher-earning spouse pays a sum to the lower-earning spouse to compensate for the regular financial support that they got from sharing incomes. Usually, these agreements aren’t permanent, but they can help ensure that both members of the couple can begin a new life.
It may be difficult to get both parties to agree on spousal support that is fair. However, in many mediation scenarios, the group can come up with a system that works for everyone.
Following the Law
There are varying kinds of mediators. However, legal mediators like our team at Drury Pullen are necessary during a divorce. The law is strict about many aspects of divorce, child custody, and child support agreements. If you have a mediator who is not trained in family law, you can easily go through the process of mediation just to have your arrangements denied by the court.
When you work with a member of our team, you are getting a mediator who thoroughly knows the laws of divorce. Our team has been practicing divorce mediation for many years, and we can ensure all your agreements are legal and appropriate. If certain aspects fall outside the law, we can help you rearrange your agreements to be both supportive to your changing family and legal.
Many fail to consider legality when they proceed with divorce mediation; however, mediation does not provide a blank check. There must be someone present who can ensure that whatever is agreed upon will pass through approval in family law court. A legal mediator provides that.
Contact Drury Pullen
For many years, our exemplary team has been offering family law services to the people of Santa Barbara. We have seen all sorts of unique challenges and situations, and we are confident that we have the experience to help you with any divorce scenario you bring to us. We are compassionate, understanding, and fair, and we can help you to navigate your divorce quickly, legally, and as painlessly as possible.
For more information on our mediation services or how we can help, contact us today.