A couple decides to file for divorce when they realize that they have to part ways due to differences that can't be resolved. A divorce is a painful process. It becomes all the more traumatic when issues, like property, taking care of children, and joint investments have to be dealt with as well. Fighting a divorce case in the court, the traditional way, is expensive and time-consuming. It adds to the emotional stress that a couple experiences throughout the process. More and more couples are opting for divorce mediation process, as it helps them to arrive at agreements that are mutually acceptable to both the parties.
What is the Process About
It refers to the practice where the couple planning to split meet out of court and resolve their issues. They are facilitated in the process by a qualified mediator, who acts as the neutral third party and draws out the final draft of divorce agreeable to both the spouses. This process involves a number of sessions in which issues, like parenting, property, and other financial issues are sorted out between the couple. Usually, in these sessions the mediator meets with both the parties and draws up the agreement to which both spouses consent. However, sometimes, a conflict may arise that cannot be resolved by the mediator sitting with the couple in the same room. In such a scenario, the mediator might meet each party separately to discuss the issue at hand.
What are the Steps Involved
A mediation process for divorce involves number of sessions wherein both parties sit together with the mediator, discuss issues, and then reach conclusions that are mutually agreeable to them. The number of sessions required depends upon the complexity of the case, and the approach of the mediator.
The first step towards the process is to make an inquiry about the mediator that a couple is going to consult. Sometimes a couple may call the mediator's office, or go and meet him in person to understand what is divorce mediation is and what are the steps involved in it. The couple can take this opportunity to understand their role in the process, and how the mediator can help them. If the couple is satisfied with the way the first meeting goes, they can agree to use the services of the mediator and sign the mediation or fee agreement.
In the subsequent sessions, the mediator understands the case and the viewpoints of each spouse. Every divorce begins with one spouse filing for separation. The other spouse has to then file an answer with the court. In case the couple hasn't already done this, the mediator may help them with this process. A mediator can help with the legal issues related with a divorce only if he is a qualified divorce attorney. Divorce also requires a lot of papers, like those that declare one's property and income. A mediator may guide a couple with the paperwork required for the divorce as well as the mediation process. Issues like property, joint investments, debts and loans, and custody of children (if any) are discussed with the couple. Each issue may be taken up in different sessions or may be clubbed together in a few sessions as required. Through discussions, the mediator draws up a final draft of agreement which both the parties consent to. This document is then sent to the court for its approval, following which the terms in the agreement become effective between both the parties.
Role of the Attorney
In case a couple goes for mediation, it does not mean that they can't use the help of their attorney. In most cases, a mediator may not be able to provide legal advice. In such a cases, a couple can refer to their attorney, who could inform them of their legal rights, help them through negotiations, and in preparing the required paperwork.
Divorce is a big emotional turmoil, hence every couple wants it to be as hassle-free as possible. Since the agreement in a divorce mediation procedure is drawn after prolonged discussion with both parties, the terms are agreeable to both the spouses. Due to this reason, this process is perceived as a more peaceful way of terminating one's marriage and is preferred by most couples going in for a divorce.