How Divorce Or Custody Mediation Can Save Your Sanity, Property And Parental Rights
Divorces come about through serious misunderstandings between spouses. At the same time, the marital bond is so very personal and all-encompassing that the divorce process is bound to be painful or disorienting even if the divorce is amicable. Your spouse, who has been your next of kin, is now your legal opponent in family law court. This can feel very unnatural and confusing. Meanwhile, your future well-being hangs in the balance if your divorce includes:
- The division of property, including real estate, financial accounts and personal possessions
- The establishment of child custody and support arrangements with two households involved rather than just one
- Determination of spousal support if applicable
For most people, these issues are not at all casual. The outcome will greatly affect their quality of life afterward. As much as you would like to fight against your spouse, you may realize in time that fighting will be counterproductive in many ways. Instead of fighting over the terms of your divorce, what if there is a more peaceful and logical way? For many people, mediation is that better way.
How Family Law Mediation Works
Agreeing to decide the key issues in your divorce through mediation does not mean that a divorce is uncontested. It just means that you and your spouse decide to settle the issues in a private, efficient and family-friendly way. The alternative – arguing in court before a judge – puts way too much power in the hands of a judge who does not know your family well.
With mediation, you and your spouse will prepare many of the same arguments that you might otherwise take to court. Your divorce lawyer(s) will help you document and justify your positions. You will then meet with a professional, neutral mediator, who will help you construct a mutual agreement to present to a family court judge.
Characteristics of divorce mediation include the following:
- You and your spouse will seek ways to reach a divorce settlement agreement with the help of a mediator, rather than seeking revenge or destruction of each other’s future.
- If applicable, you will, together, consider input from experts such as a real estate appraiser, a child psychologist or a retirement income adviser. This information, as part of your mediation process, will help inform you and the mediator as you construct a fair division of assets and a child-focused solution to custody, visitation and support. The arrangement should clearly satisfy the court’s standard, namely “the best interest of the child.”
- You will participate in mediation sessions on your own terms, including on your own timetable, without the restrictions of a court calendar.
- You may discover that mediation is less expensive and more collaborative than a courtroom battle would likely be.
- If you will continue co-parenting with your spouse after the divorce, you may find the factual, respectful tone set by the mediation process to be helpful as a starting point.
If your mediation is successful, you will end up with a divorce settlement agreement to present to a family court, and it is likely to be approved. If mediation fails, you and your spouse may have to resort to litigation and public court hearings. Most people who mediate try hard to avoid this, and that helps them reach a conclusion that both spouses can live with.
Learn How To Get Ready For Custody Or Divorce Mediation
Call Anne E. Lewis, P.L.C., in Grand Rapids, Michigan, at 616-818-1812 or send an email message. Attorney Anne E. Lewis may become the mediator for you and your spouse or she may represent you as you go through mediation led by another mediator.