Written by Jonathan Breeden
Not all divorces need to be difficult court battles. When a divorce or its related issues are contested, then you need to go back and forth to court to argue your position and hear the judge’s decisions. However, if you and your former spouse agree that it is time to end the marriage and do not have any major disagreements there may be an alternative that saves everyone stress and time. When this is the case, the mediation process allows both parties to work with a neutral divorce mediator to decide how to proceed with the divorce, the division of any assets, and child custody and support.
While this is a far less contentious process, you still have to protect your rights and future. The best way to do this is to work with an experienced divorce attorney like Jonathan Breeden during mediation.
To learn more, call Breeden Law Office today at (919) 661-4970.
North Carolina family courts often require you to try mediation for certain issues first. This may or may not go well depending on your situation. Mediation is for spouses who are ready and willing to communicate with one another to determine all of the major issues within the divorce. Deciding how to handle the family home, shared vehicles, personal items, debt, retirement accounts and more can be difficult. While you once built a life together, you must dismantle it and choose who walks away with which assets. You have to be ready to do your homework, understand your rights, and compromise with your spouse.
Mediation also enables you to work together to figure out what is best for your kids. Many parents prefer to make these decisions together instead of a judge making a custody plan for your family, who does not know your children. Parents who want to create a parenting plan that is customized to their schedule’s and children’s unique needs and personalities can do so through guided mediation.
Mediation keeps you and your former spouse out of a courtroom, which can be time-consuming and traumatic. Instead, mediation provides a safer and more compassionate environment to discuss the end of your marriage. You and your spouse are given the opportunity to speak your own thoughts instead of communicating through lawyers. It also provides flexibility. While a judge may stick to a common way of doing things, you and your spouse can come up with unique solutions to your problems.
Mediation can be more cost-effective than a contested divorce in court. Spouses who rely on battling out issues in the courtroom require additional hours and work from their attorneys, which can quickly add up. Mediation is often faster than a contested divorce, lasting only a few months. However, you should not expect it to be over in one or two sessions. Many couples take up to a dozen sessions to work out all of the necessary details, though this depends on your communication styles and the length of each session.
For individuals who want their divorces to remain private, the confidentiality of mediation is appreciated. Mediation enables you to keep your discussions out of the public record. Your attorneys can also help you keep your final divorce settlement confidential as well.
If the parties involved agree that divorce mediation is the right way to go, one of you will still need to begin the formal divorce suit in court or agree to go to mediation prior to the filing of formal equitable distribution or custody action in Court. You do not have to wait a year after separation to start a court action or to go to mediation. Once you have agreed to go to mediation or are ordered to do so by the Court you and your spouse will need to hire a divorce mediator – a process your lawyers can guide you through. The court may also appoint a mediator, if necessary. This third party will have an hourly fee and generally, spouses agree to split this evenly, though one of you can pay most or all of the expensive.
With the mediator obtained, you and your spouse along with your attorneys will schedule sessions together. The mediator will guide the conversation during these sessions to ensure it does not get off track. The mediator cannot give either of you legal advice and is not there to make any decisions, which is why it is important to have legal representation. Over a single session or multiple sessions, you and your spouse will come to final decisions on all of the issues.
Once you have finalized everything, the mediator drafts a Memorandum of Order for the Judge to sign or a separation agreement for the parties to sign,
Mediation is not merely you and your spouse in a room hashing things out. There is a neutral party to structure the conversation and allow each of you to have your say. Additionally, your attorney is there to remind you of your rights and ensure you are not taken advantage of or spoken over.
To learn more about going through mediation in North Carolina and whether it is right for you, call a North Carolina divorce lawyer with Breeden Law Office at (919) 661-4970.