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.