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Divorce Mediation

After years of struggling, you and your spouse decide to end your marriage. But you’re still on fairly good terms with each other, and you don’t want a long, drawn-out process that will cost you time, money, and sanity.

If this situation seems familiar to you, mediation may be a good option. Divorce proceedings can be extremely painful and contentious even when the split is amicable, and couples have the best of intentions. Divorcing spouses that can commit to taking a collaborative approach to their separation often have better financial and emotional outcomes than those who do not.

In this blog article, we’ll review how the divorce mediation process works in North Carolina and explain some of the advantages and downsides. Keep reading to learn more or contact one of our North Carolina divorce attorneys to schedule a consultation.

How Does Divorce Mediation Work? What Can I Expect?

Mediation is a process that helps divorcing couples reach a fair and equitable resolution through collaboration and compromise with the assistance of an experienced mediator.

This process offers couples a confidential alternative to a litigated case, where the process becomes very public and the judge’s orders may not seem fair to either spouse.

Here are the basic steps:

  • Selecting an attorney. When couples separate, even if they seem to be on good terms, they should both seek independent legal advice prior to the mediation. While they may have agreed to resolve their issues through mediation, their legal positions are adverse to each other. A mediator should not give legal advice to either party. Each party needs to understand the law surrounding their legal issues and their options.
  • Information gathering. Prior to the mediation session, you’ll need to work with your attorney to put together the information necessary for an effective mediation. This will require exchanging financial documents about your assets—tax returns, bank statements, property details, debts, etc., with your spouse and their attorney.
  • Selecting a mediator. You should work with your lawyer to determine options for mediators that would be a good fit for your case. The mediators differ in experience, cost, availability, and demeanor.
  • Joint mediation session. Once the attorneys have exchanged the necessary information and agreed on the mediator, the mediation session occurs. Mediations usually start in the morning and can go into the night. If necessary, the mediation can be paused and resumed at a later date. During the mediation, the parties/attorneys are split into separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth with settlement offers to try to get an agreement. Ideally, the issues are narrowed as various points can be agreed upon.
  • Memorandum of understanding. If mediation sessions result in mutual agreement on the settlement terms, the mediator or one of the attorneys may write up a short summary of the terms. However, the terms are not final yet.
  • Finalized divorce agreement. After the mediation, one of the attorneys will prepare the formal settlement document and discuss it with their client. The draft document will be sent to the other attorney for review and approval. Once the settlement documents are final, they are signed and notarized or signed and submitted to the court for signature by a judge.

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When you’re facing the uncertainty of divorce, it can be hard to understand your legal options and know which one is right for you. This is especially true when you are trying to balance protecting your rights and property versus avoiding an expensive, drawn-out, bitter divorce.

Even during divorces that are less than friendly, mediation can still be an effective way to move forward. The key to a successful mediation is that both spouses show up ready to listen, communicate, and compromise.

Generally, mediation is the best option to resolve cases because it avoids the drawn-out and costly court process.

Potential Benefits of Divorce Mediation

Some of the main benefits of mediation include:

  • Affordability. Mediation is usually much cheaper than going through a litigated case in court. Usually, each spouse pays for half the cost of the mediator.
  • Confidentiality. Court proceedings are public, but everything that happens in mediation remains confidential. Even if mediation sessions fail and the divorcing parties end up in court anyway, no one can reveal what you or your spouse said in mediation sessions.
  • Preserving relationships. If children are involved in the separation, you’ll probably have to maintain a relationship with your spouse for a long time. No matter how you feel about your spouse, it will be better for both you and your children if you keep that relationship civil and constructive. Mediation can spare both parties the conflict and emotional pain that comes with lengthy court proceedings, which can leave you with a better foundation for a positive relationship with your ex.
  • Known outcome. With mediation, you and your spouse decide the terms of the separation. The mediator does not make any decisions— only the parties. While the parties may not be happy about the outcome, they have worked to get an arrangement in place that they both agree they can live with. When the decision is placed in the hands of a judge, the parties lose all control over the outcome.

RELATED: 8 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier Divorce

When Is Divorce Mediation Not Recommended?

Divorce mediation isn’t for everyone.

If your relationship with your spouse involves domestic violence or abuse (physical, emotional, or financial), mediation may not be a reasonable option. Many domestic violence and abuse situations involve emotional manipulation by the abuser, and victims can risk even further abuse if they open themselves up to their abusive ex via mediation.

Also, remember that mediation is non-binding, and the mediator can only offer suggestions and proposals—they do not make any decisions. If your spouse is never going to agree to anything that is remotely reasonable, you may want to save the money that would be spent on mediation and proceed to court.

Facing Divorce in North Carolina? Call Myers Law Firm

If you or someone you love is facing divorce, separating through mediation with the support of a divorce lawyer may be a good option. At Myers Law Firm, we support our clients through each step of the divorce process and explore every option to get them the best outcome we can.

If you have questions about your divorce case, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’ll meet with you in a confidential consultation and help you understand your rights and options.

To schedule your consultation with an attorney from Myers Law Firm, please call (888) 376-2889 or fill out our quick online contact form.

We look forward to hearing from you!

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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