Divorce, child custody and other family law issues are often contentious battles that require court intervention; however, an alternative worth exploring is mediation. In fact, courts in Arizona require any issues involving minor children to be resolved through mediation before a divorce will be granted. If you have questions about mediation, turn to Cohen Family Law.
As a leading family law practice in Arizona, we are dedicated to helping couples and modern families in Arizona resolve their most pressing and personal issues. Founding attorney Mitchell E. Cohen is also highly experienced in mediating the full spectrum of family law cases. When you consult with us, we will take the time to understand your circumstances and help you find a solution that works for your family. Whether you are seeking a mediator or need advice about the mediation process in Arizona, we will provide you with informed representation when you need it most. Please contact our office today to speak with our family mediation lawyers.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is intended to be a more civil and cost-effective way to resolve family law issues in Arizona without going to court. In the case of divorce mediation, for example, a neutral third party helps the spouses to balance their needs in dividing marital property as well as issues involving children, if any, such as legal decision-making, parenting time and child support.
The mediator does not provide legal advice like an attorney or reach a decision as a judge would in a court case. Instead, the mediator guides both parties towards reaching a settlement agreement, which must be approved by the court. Although mediation allows the spouses to reach a fair agreement, they must be willing to negotiate in good faith for it to work.
Mediation is designed to enable both parties to communicate openly and work together to resolve conflicts. The objective is for them to find mutually acceptable solutions. To encourage open communication between the spouses, each party typically signs a confidentiality agreement. The mediator then guides the spouses through the process, but the final decisions are their own.
How Does the Mediation Process Work in Arizona?
Mediation involves the spouses and the mediator engaging in a series of mediation sessions, typically lasting one to two hours. At the first mediation session, the couple and the mediator will discuss options, assess the marital assets, and, in cases involving minor children, issues involving legal decision-making, parenting time, and child support issues. The mediator will also help them determine which information must be gathered and shared (financial data, appraisals).
From there, the mediator will work with them to find areas of compromise. While each case is different, the typical divorce mediation can be resolved in three to four sessions over the course of a month or two. More complex cases, particularly those involving significant assets, will likely take longer to complete. If the parties reach an agreement on all issues, the mediator will draft a settlement agreement for the parties and their attorneys to review.
What Are The Benefits Of Mediation?
Mediation offers a number of benefits, not the least of which is avoiding court intervention. Because there are no court appearances and fewer court filings required, mediation is also far less expensive than a litigated divorce, the cost of which can be staggering. If the parties negotiate in good faith, they will be well-equipped to arrive at a fair and equitable arrangement.
Arizona law also honors confidentiality in mediation, including all communications and documents exchanged in the process. Whereas court filings and proceedings are a matter of public record, what happens in mediation remains private.
Another benefit of mediation is that the spouses control the terms of the divorce case, which means they are not at the mercy of a judge’s decision. Finally, in cases involving minor children, the spouses work together to create a parenting plan, which can foster healthy co-parenting in the future.
How Cohen Family Law Can Help
At Cohen Family Law, we have extensive experience mediating divorce and family law cases. Although we cannot provide legal advice in our role as mediators, we also regularly advise clients who are considering or are already involved in the mediation process. When you consult with us, we will explore all your options and help you reach the best possible outcome.
During the mediation process, our legal team routinely collaborates with a network of professionals — financial planners, accountants, real estate appraisers, psychologists and counselors — to ensure that all parties are treated fairly.
Because we are attorneys, we have the skills and resources to draft the necessary legal documents, including settlement agreements and parenting plans. We also mediate a wide range of family law matters such as:
- Paternity actions
- Parenting time modifications
- Child support modification
- Spousal maintenance modifications
- Grandparent visitation
Although it is not necessary for one to be a lawyer to mediate family law matters, attorneys are held to a higher standard as members of the bar. At Cohen Family Law, we are highly regarded for adhering to the highest ethical standards and for helping families achieve successful mediations.
Contact Our Experienced Arizona Family Mediation Lawyers
If you are considering mediation or currently participating in the process, Cohen Family Law can help. You can trust us to provide you with guidance and objective insights, whether in our capacity as mediators or your family law attorneys. Please reach out to our office today to learn more about the family mediation process in Arizona.