Many people don’t realize they have choices when they think about
filing for divorce. Of course, everyone knows about the litigated model,
each person getting an attorney, cooperating or not, having discovery,
asking for financial information, filing interim motions, going into court,
really a very protracted, long process in most cases. However, at the
opposite end of that spectrum is mediation.
In mediation, I work with couples as a neutral, third party. I help them
decide who’s going to initiate the process, and then we draw up
the papers for them to sign, and we file with the court. We get them back
and then we make arrangements for a very friendly service on the other
party. We never, ever serve that party out in public, having lunch, or
at work where they might be embarrassed. We always make arrangements in
advance for the service to be done here in our offices or by mail. We
then begin filling out the financial documents that the court requires.
Those documents can be kind of tough at times when done alone, but we
always do it in a very friendly setting so that I can help and give you
tips and shortcuts. Once those documents are completed, then we have a
complete picture of the assets and debts of the parties. We also have
an idea of how the parenting plan might work, best.
At this point, it’s up to the two parties to talk to me about what
they want and how they want to see the agreement made. I work with them
then to draw up the agreement that they come to. At that point, they can
take it to an attorney to look at it from their own perspective and there
is a free revision that is included in the mediation flat fee. Mediations
generally take less time than litigation. Generally speaking, it will
take us two to three months to complete all the paperwork. We then send
it off to court, get it back in seven to ten days and the parties simply
have to wait the six month waiting period before the divorce is actually final.
It is our hope that couples considering divorce will fully understand
their options and will be able to make an educated decision on which divorce
process is right for their situation.