Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process, which means, in short, that couples resolve all of the issues between them without involving a court. Divorce mediation can be an excellent choice to resolve one or more particular issues, and in some instances, it can resolve all issues to form the final marital agreement.
Collaborative divorce proceedings are a form of mediation. The main difference between collaborative divorce and divorce mediation are the parties involved and commitment of those parties to refrain from trial litigation. In a collaborative divorce proceeding, both spouses are required to have their own attorney, all parties are required to agree to agree, and if the collaborative arrangement needs outside advice, the appropriate expert is consulted by the collaborative team. If the collaborative arrangement fails to form a final marital agreement, then it is disbanded, and each party must then acquire the services of different attorneys.
In a divorce mediation proceeding, only one attorney is required to mediate the discussions, however, two or more attorney can be involved in the discussions. As with collaborative divorce proceedings, the ultimate goal is to achieve a final agreement. That agreement becomes the marital agreement upon which the divorce is granted, if the agreement is approved by the court. As with a collaborative divorce agreement, the court will not approve an agreement that lacks fairness, willingness, or that fails to properly addresses all of the elements required in a marital agreement.
The final agreement of divorce mediation is prepared by the mediating attorney. The agreement is then submitted to the court for approval. A court can set the agreement aside and enter its own ruling. Courts are unlikely to set aside an agreement that has been appropriately prepared by an attorney, but may raise an eyebrow at an agreement prepared only by the couple. The reasons are many, but the main concerns of any court will be whether the agreement is fair, whether it violates public policy, and whether it actually addresses each concern that the legislature sought to address when they formed divorce laws.
Consequently, it is always wise to acquire the services of an attorney during the mediation process and for the final agreement. It is even more critical to ensure that the mediation attorney has experience in the vast area of family law, particularly divorce law and asset preservation.
Attorney Steven D. Eversole has helped many couples through divorce mediation. He offers you a free initial consultation to discuss your divorce mediation needs. Please contact Eversole Law to arrange your free consultation.