Using Mediation Services During Your Divorce Proceedings
Mediation can be an important step during the process of resolving a divorce. Unfortunately, it is a common issue for individuals going through a divorce for the first time to have an incomplete conceptual understanding of the mediation process or what they should expect during it.
Are Mediated Agreements Binding?
One assumption that people may have about mediation agreements is that they will not be binding in the same way that a court-decreed divorce would. However, a mediation agreement will have the same effect as any other contract, and the parties can face stiff penalties or legal liabilities if they violate these terms. As a result, it is important to be sure that you understand and agree to these terms before you formally accept them as they will be binding between you and your former spouse. After the terms have been settled, they will be filed with the courts as part of the divorce decree.
What Happens If Mediation Fails to Resolve the Contentious Matters of the Divorce?
While mediation can allow individuals to avoid or decrease the time that they have to spend resolving the divorce in the courts, it may not be able to resolve all of the disputes that may be at the heart of the divorce. If this is the case, it will be necessary for a judge to rule on the disputes to resolve them. Not surprisingly, individuals will typically want to avoid this whenever possible. For this reason, it can be important to make a good faith effort in the mediation negotiations so that you can reduce the risk of needing to put the matter in the hands of the courts.
Will You Have to Negotiate Face to Face During the Mediation?
Concerns about the need for continuous face to face negotiations with the other spouse can be enough to discourage people from pursuing mediation. However, this is not the way that these negotiations will be structured. Rather, it is more common for the two parties to be separated and for the mediator to carry messages and proposals between the two parties. This can avoid contentious face to face discussions so that the talks can be more focused on the goal of resolving the disputes around the divorce. Furthermore, you will not be alone during these discussions as your attorney will be able to be present. They will be able to help you assess offers, formulate counter-proposals, and otherwise protect your rights throughout the course of these discussions.
For more information, contact local divorce mediators.