For spouses who dread the confrontation of the courtroom, divorce mediation may be a more comfortable alternative. Couples who can agree on certain basics, such as parenting time or spousal maintenance, may be able to iron out their differences with the help of a trained impartial third party. That third party, known as the mediator, will hopefully be able to guide them toward a mutually acceptable agreement. At Cohen Family Law we routinely steer clients who are interested in mediation toward respected professionals in that field while retaining the role of legal counsel.
Our lead attorney, Mitchell E. Cohen, has a well-earned reputation for legal knowledge and finely honed negotiation and litigation skills, having been in charge of over 3,000 family law cases. If you are considering divorce mediation, he will prepare you carefully for the mediation process and answer any questions you have as you go through it. He will also draw up and file the final documents.
The Advantages of Divorce Mediation
The divorce process can frequently be challenging and upsetting. However, when mediation is successful, couples report less stress for all members of the family because the process is less adversarial and the intimidating formality of the courtroom is avoided. Furthermore, by participating in mediation, the divorcing couple maintains control over the decision-making process without having to submit to a judge’s ruling that may seem arbitrary and impersonal. Mediation is usually less costly than litigation as well. Beyond reducing the financial strain, mediation can lower the emotional strain, helping you and your children come through the dissolution of the marriage feeling whole.
Mediation also has the potential advantage of finalizing the divorce much more quickly than is likely in litigation. A divorce case can take many months and sometimes even years to wind through the court system. It is possible that even after a full trial additional months are spent on post trial motions or appeals. In the end, couples who successfully complete divorce mediation may feel a sense of accomplishment, satisfied that they have effectively functioned as a team for one last time.
When the Mediation Process Deteriorates
Though most mediations are successful, at Cohen Family Law we know that, even with the best of intentions on both sides, the mediation process may break down. During the meetings with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, contentious issues may arise, making it impossible to continue. If such a situation arises, Mitchell Cohen is always available to take your case to court to make sure that you come out of the divorce feeling fairly treated. It should be noted that if no agreement is reached during mediation, any evidence of what has taken place during mediation discussions will be inadmissible in court.
Steps To Be Taken
If you and your spouse decide that mediation is a good option for you, Cohen Family Law can assist you in filing a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or requesting an order from the judge. In Arizona, the court may require you to participate in mediation, particularly if you have children, but there will be no pressure on you to reach an agreement through the procedure. The court’s intent is to keep the negotiations as respectful as possible, especially when such negotiations involve children whose future living arrangements hang in the balance.
Issues To Be Settled During Mediation
It is hoped that attending mediation sessions in an informal setting with a capable third party will result in rational discussions to decide the central issues of the impending divorce, including property division, child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (if any), and parenting time (visitation).
The Mediator’s Most Important and Difficult Job Is Helping to Resolve Parenting Issues
The most important goal of mediation is for parents to come up with a reasonable way of co-parenting their children, a way that will provide the children with a sense of stability in the midst of turmoil and make it clear that both of their parents love and support them. There are a great many parenting decisions that have to be made and emotions run high. It is the mediator’s job to make sure that each spouse is given time to express his or her viewpoint without being interrupted and to ensure that each parent hears and understands the other parent’s perspective.
Often a simple rephrasing of one party’s words can make a seemingly antagonistic statement palatable. Sometimes all that is needed is a pertinent question to one of the spouses to clarify a position that seems confusing or irrational. A talented mediator can help the two resolve conflicts calmly and sensibly. Hopefully, even though neither former partner will be fully pleased with the results, each will be satisfied that the final agreement is fair to both sides.
If you are first considering divorce you may not yet have realized how many decisions concerning your children’s upbringing may come up. At Cohen Family Law we will make sure that when you go into mediation you fully understand the diversity and complexity of parenting issues. Questions to be answered include:
- Who will have legal decision-making authority? (Arizona no longer refers to this as legal custody) Those decisions generally include the child’s education, healthcare, religion and personal care. Arizona has a stated preference for joint legal decision making where both parents make major decisions regarding their children together.
- Where will the children live and how much time will they spend with the other parent?
- Who will be paying child support and in what amount?
- How will the parents communicate regarding issues concerning the children?
- How frequently will there be periodic reviews of the parenting plans to determine if they remain appropriate under current circumstances in terms of finances, health, etc.?
In order to move on to legal separation or divorce, the divorcing spouses will each sign a document stating that they agree to its terms.
Contact Our Phoenix Divorce Mediation Lawyer Servicing Chandler, Glendale, Mesa, & Scottsdale
If your mediation is successful, we can help you file the necessary documents so that your divorce will become final.
If mediation does not work or is impractical in your case, Mitchell Cohen will be here for you to turn to in your hour of crisis. He is well – prepared to bring your divorce to a just conclusion with as little upheaval as possible. Contact Cohen Family Law by calling us or filling out a form on our website.