If you and your spouse are ready to divorce but you do not want to go through litigation, then mediation or collaborative divorce might be right for you. Both options allow you to negotiate your issues with the help of outside professionals, and both avoid a lengthy trial. However, they differ in their processes and cost structures. If you are interested in either option, then it is important to work with a Divorce Attorney who has the right training and experience.
The collaborative process involves both parties retaining their own attorneys who will be available for negotiation. You will then meet with a neutral mediator who helps you find creative solutions that are mutually satisfactory to both parties. The process is less adversarial than litigation and typically takes less time as well. You may also be able to hire other party-neutral professionals to assist in the process such as child specialists, financial experts, or mental health specialists.
Mediation also provides a less adversarial environment but differs from the collaborative process in that you and your spouse do not each retain your own lawyer to participate in the mediation sessions. Instead, the neutral will act as the facilitator to guide your discussions with your spouse about all of your issues. After the sessions are completed, each of you will be provided with a written document known as a Stipulation of Settlement which will reflect the agreements that have been reached. This document will then be filed with the court in your county where it will become your final divorce agreement.
In order to participate in a collaborative or mediation process, it is important that you and your spouse have a good working relationship with each other. While the collaborative process is designed to minimize emotional impact, it still can be stressful and will not work if one party refuses to cooperate or engage in civil dialogue with the other.
Similarly, divorce mediation is not appropriate if the other party is mentally incapacitated, such as if they have Alzheimer’s disease or another neurological condition that impairs their ability to make sound decisions. It is also not the best option if there has been domestic violence or a restraining order against one party is in place.
If you are ready to reclaim your life from your former spouse and would like to learn more about the collaborative or mediation process, then contact us today. Our team at John T. Sholly, Attorney and Counselor at Law has the expertise and training needed to help you reach a resolution to your divorce issues without going to trial. Contact us to schedule a consultation with our experienced Divorce Attorney. We look forward to helping you build a better future for yourself and your children.