Phoenix Mediation Assistance
Couples get divorced every week in Phoenix and throughout Arizona. Some cases are amicable and work out well for everyone involved. Others become long, drawn-out court battles that take months, or even years, to resolve. Fortunately, there are a lot of different was to go about getting things taken care of, including the choice of mediation.
Mediation offers an alternative to divorce that is much more affordable and agreeable than a court hearing. In mediation, couples can handle all matters related to their legal separation or divorce with the help of a neutral third party. Also known as alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, mediation allows you to resolve issues without spending a fortune (or months of your life) in the family court system.
Some couples will never be able to agree. For them, Phoenix mediation services may not be the best option. However, for couples that are looking for a different route, this could be a good alternative. Read on to learn all about mediation in Arizona and how a Phoenix mediation lawyer can help you get through the process.
The mediation process takes place through the court systems, but it’s in a private, closed setting instead of a courtroom. There is a neutral third party that acts as the mediator and their role is to ensure that both parties can find agreement in various aspects of the divorce or legal separation.
Mediation can define and outline things like:
- Whether spousal maintenance is paid (although the court determines the amount)
- Parenting plans and child issues
- How you divide assets and debts
- Living arrangements after the divorce or separation
- Any pre- or post-nuptial agreements that need to be executed
You can even outline in your mediation agreement who gets the dogs. Ultimately, it’s going to be a complete list of all the matters related to your marriage and now, your impending separation or divorce. Spouses may not always agree the first time around, which is why mediation isn’t a “one and done” meeting.
Mediation can take weeks, or even months, to hammer out all the details and reach an agreement that works for everyone.
Why Choose Mediation?
Many people aren’t sure whether mediation is right for them or not. Some couples will never be able to agree on anything, so mediation won’t even be on the table. However, if you think that you and your spouse can agree on some issues, it might be worth considering. Mediators will facilitate the discussions and decision-making process, helping both spouses see the other’s perspective and ensuring that the outcome works for all parties.
Mediation also offers benefits like:
- Less time and money than divorce hearings that go to court
- You get to choose what happens after your marriage ends
- It can build a stronger relationship for post-divorce parents or partners
- Confidentiality and privacy
- A quicker outcome
Mediators are available to answer your questions and help you through the process. Plus, you can also hire a Phoenix mediation lawyer that can be by your side throughout the entire ordeal so that you ensure that things work out in your best interests.
Mediation Does Not Cover…
Under Arizona law, mediation agreements cannot contain certain factors or elements, including demands related to the children. While parents may be able to suggest parenting plans and arrangements, mediation can’t outline child support payments or mandate them in any way. That has to be determined and awarded by the courts. Parents can agree on things in mediation, but the courts have to approve everything in the end, so be sure to talk to your lawyer to find out what you can and can’t include in your mediation.
Phoenix mediation hearings begin with planning. This involves deciding where and when the mediation will take place, as well as who should be present, including any family members and/or mediation lawyers that you are working with. Then, the mediator introduces the parties, the mediation process, and explains the rules of mediation.
Once everyone is introduced and prepared, the presentation process begins. This allows each party to present their side of the situation and discuss their feelings without interruption. Then, a discussion will occur that includes questions and conversations to uncover both sides of the story and figure out how to get everyone on the same page. In the event things get aggressive or disputes arise, the mediator can separate the parties and facilitate the mediation separately. The benefit of this is that the conversations with each party are considered confidential and won’t be disclosed to the other party.
Negotiation comes next, which includes proposals from each party. The mediator will help the couple through the negotiation process and then the mediation is considered complete. Closure occurs when there is an agreement in place, or if the time allotted for the mediation session has lapsed. In the event they need more time, parties can request another session.
Does Mediation Always Work?
Some people wonder whether mediation is truly as successful as some people think. The short answer is that it actually can be. As many as 70% (or more) of the cases that go through mediation in Arizona will find resolution during the process. However, there are also the cases where mediation is attempted and unsuccessful, or where it’s clear from the beginning that mediation will not be effective.
For example, if there’s domestic violence, serious anger or power imbalance, substance abuse, or other factors involved, mediation may not be possible and a court hearing to decide all the elements of your divorce or separation will be required.
Contact Modern Law for Help with Phoenix Mediation
If you’re facing mediation or even just wondering if it’s going to be right for you, contact the team at Modern Law. Our family lawyers have years of expertise in Arizona laws, including Phoenix mediation cases and how to best handle them to get an outcome that works for all parties involved. Our attorneys can even help you decide if mediation is an option and how to proceed if it ends up being a bad idea. Reach out now and let us help you through this difficult time.