What Happens After Mediation in Divorce?

Not all divorces are contentious or bitter but many are. No matter what type of relationship you are having with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, mediation may be the right answer for you. It’s important to get the agreements ironed out so that both parties feel good about the decisions that they made. This is where mediation steps in and provides an alternative to court-based decisions that you may not like.

In order to understand what happens after mediation in divorce, it’s important to first look at the process of mediation and how it is done.

Gathering Information

The first step with mediation is meeting with a mediator to see if he is compatible for you. You need to feel confident about moving forward with the person you choose and feel like you can trust him or her. If you have any misgivings about the mediator, you can request another mediator at the company.

The mediator will let you know what type of information you need to gather up to move forward. It’s important to have all of the relevant facts available before any major discussions can take place. This makes a lot of sense since there’s no use arguing about the assets before you have a list of them and have placed a value on them all.

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The mediator will be able to help you with this step and put you in contact with people that can give you estimates regarding the value of your property. There are different ways to determine or access the vital information that you need to gather and while it may seem overwhelming at first, when broken down into a step-by-step process it can be quite simple. Especially when you’re working with a knowledgeable mediator that has a lot of experience and knows where you should turn next to gather up all your data.

You may be asked to bring in title documents, insurance policies, mortgage and bank statements, your latest tax returns and more, depending on the assets you own. The mediator will go over all of the laws and legal regulations that you need to know according to your specific situation.

Determining Your Interests

At this point, the mediator will take a look at the interests and needs of the parties involved, which may include the division of debt, spousal support, child support, child custody and the division of assets. This is the final step before negotiations begin.

Negotiating Agreements

At this stage of mediation the mediator will work with you and your spouse to negotiate a settlement agreement that would be acceptable to both of you. Both you and your spouse will be able to talk about your wants and needs at this point and the mediator may step in and provide different options along the way. The goal is to finalize an agreement that is acceptable to both of you.

Creating a Draft Settlement

If an agreement has been made across the board for all issues, the mediator will prepare a draft settlement, which will be sent to both parties. You will receive a copy of it in writing and you can feel free to take it to a lawyer to make sure that it covers all of your interests. Once this settlement has been signed by you and your spouse it will be filed by the mediator with the court. Once it is approved by the court, this document is legally binding.

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What Happens after Mediation?

Once the divorce settlement has been signed and filed with the county court in your California area, a judge will look it over to make sure that the best interests of the children have been taken into account and that everything conforms to the laws of California. The judge will process the settlement agreement if everything looks fine and a judgment will be issued to have your marriage dissolved according to the agreements you have made. Once the judge approves the paperwork the court will need to process it.

In some cases the parties have difficulty coming to a final agreement and in this case the remaining issues will need to be taken up through the court. If this occurs, don’t despair. It does not mean that the mediation failed. It’s likely that some of the issues got cleared up through mediation even if it wasn’t fully successful.

Sometimes emotions get high during the mediation sessions and at times it’s important to just step back and let it all settle in. Once your emotions have become calmer, you may see a different way to approach things in order to reach an agreement. Sometimes when you take a week off you can return to the negotiating table to have constructive conversations. This may also be true for your spouse.

Mediation versus Lawyers

It can get very expensive when you need to work with a lawyer to handle all aspects of your divorce. Mediation is a much more cost-effective option that is worth exploring. When you work with a mediator you can also ask for help from a lawyer at any time. They are not exclusive of each other and the mediator will support your decision to visit a lawyer whenever you want.

When you leave your divorce solely in the hands of the courts and lawyers, however, you’ll find yourself in a stressful environment. In this type of environment you may find that your negative feelings are getting stronger because of the setting you are in. Mediation gives you the chance to have neutral conversations instead of having to deal with heavy conflict situations where the lawyer may not be as understanding as a mediator.

Take a look at all of the factors involved before getting your divorce. Talk to a mediator to see exactly what he can do for you. Mediation often leads to faster results, incurs less costs and has the ability to provide realistic outcomes that work for everyone involved. Get more control over your divorce in a safe and sane environment as a mediator helps to guide you towards a mutually satisfactory agreement.

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