Considering Mediation When Divorcing

Q: When is mediation appropriate and what are the benefits?

Divorce is stressful, but in many cases there is a process that may alleviate some of the anxiety that comes from dissolving the marriage and finding a new “normal” for your family. The process is called mediation.

A mediator is a neutral third-party who assists a divorcing couple with working out mutually agreeable terms for the divorce and co-parenting responsibilities thereafter.  A divorce mediation attorney can help couples avoid a contested divorce proceeding by assisting them in coming to an agreement on the matters that include establishing:

  • legal decision-making authority (shared or given to one parent)
  • each parent’s role in the personal care, education, healthcare, and religious upbringing of the children
  • a workable parenting time schedule
  • exchange of children procedures
  • procedures for breaches in the parenting
  • plan periodic review dates of the parenting
  • plan communication protocol between parents regarding the children and
  • parental affirmation statement of agreement to the terms of the plan.

If a couple possesses a minimum level of trust and respect for each other, as well as the requisite level of maturity, there are many benefits to using mediation in the dissolution of the marriage. Some of those benefits include maintaining control instead of giving it to a judge to make decisions you may not agree with, shielding your children from exposure to the court system, and maintaining confidentiality (mediation is private, divorce is a public record). In addition, mediation sessions can be scheduled in a more flexible manner than court dates, and are not as rushed which may result in your opinions actually being heard. Mediation is also less expensive and provides a faster resolution than a contested divorce crawling through the backlogged court system. The good news is that mediation is not binding if the parties are unable to come to terms. If mediation is unsuccessful, the couple simply moves on to a traditional divorce proceeding.

If you are considering a divorce and believe that a mutually-agreeable parenting plan could be arrived at through mediation, Cohen Family Law has extensive experience in all areas of family law, including mediation and divorce and can help you work through the divorce process with minimal stress. Call us at 602-714-8898 to schedule a consultation. From our offices in Phoenix, we’ve been representing clients throughout the state of Arizona for decades.