One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is the process’s expense in both time and energy. Divorce litigation may take months or even years in complex, hotly contested cases. Generally, the more agreeable the divorcing spouses are toward one another, the faster a divorce can proceed. Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that can allow a divorcing couple to negotiate the terms of their divorce peaceably and swiftly.
Divorce mediation can offer substantial savings on legal fees while simultaneously allowing a divorcing couple to keep their negotiations private and firmly within their control. If you intend to end your marriage in Columbia, MO, consider the potential value of exploring the divorce mediation process instead of bracing immediately for litigation.
What Is Divorce Mediation?
The main concept of divorce mediation is a neutral negotiation process under the guidance of a neutral mediator. The mediator, typically an attorney with no conflict of interest favoring either spouse, will preside over a divorcing couple’s mediation sessions to keep conversations productive and answer the couple’s legal questions. Mediation only takes as long as the divorcing spouses require to negotiate the terms of their divorce and draft a divorce agreement. The spouses may or may not have their respective attorneys present during mediation sessions, or their attorneys may only attend certain mediation sessions.
Once the couple has thoroughly explored all the facets of their divorce, they will draft a divorce agreement under the mediator’s supervision and their respective legal representatives. The drafted divorce agreement is then submitted to the Columbia, MO family court system, where a judge will review it for final approval, granting the divorce decree.
What You Can Expect During Mediation
Instead of a heated court battle in which the judge has the final say about your divorce, divorce mediation offers a relaxed, private setting in which you and your spouse can create your divorce agreement on your own terms. Mediation is less expensive, less stressful, and ultimately more fulfilling for everyone involved than litigation. Some of the biggest perks to opting for mediation instead of litigation for your divorce include:
- Financial savings. Attorneys’ fees are notoriously costly. The longer a litigated divorce lasts, the more expensive it will be for both spouses in the long run. Mediation allows the divorcing spouses to save substantial amounts of money on legal fees.
- Time savings. Managing a divorce is never easy, especially when you still need to raise a family and work. Mediation can take place on the divorcing couple’s time. They may only require one or two mediation sessions to reach an agreement. In other situations, they might draw out the process as long as necessary to ensure a fully equitable mediated divorce agreement. Ultimately, the divorcing couple decides how long mediation takes.
- Greater comfort. Courtroom battles can be incredibly difficult for anyone. Mediation takes place in an informal, comfortable, and private setting instead of the courtroom. Mediation sessions typically take place at the mediator’s office or another neutral location easily accessed by both spouses.
- More control. When you litigate your divorce, the final decisions about important aspects of your divorce rest in the hands of a judge and impartial legal statutes. Negotiating your divorce through mediation means you and your soon-to-be-ex get to decide how to manage the end of your marriage.
- Any litigated court case becomes public record, including your litigated divorce proceedings. It’s relatively easy for anyone to obtain public court records. If you would prefer to keep your divorce proceedings private, then mediation is definitely the best dispute resolution option you have. Nothing you say in mediation sessions becomes public record. The divorce itself will be granted, but all you and your ex’s negotiations remain completely confidential.
- Specific attention to detail. When your divorce is left in the court’s hands, the judge does not have the same level of personal experience and firsthand knowledge about your marriage circumstances that you and your spouse possess. Mediation allows you to keep your divorce decision focused on your actual needs and lifestyle instead of cold legal statutes.
There are many reasons to choose divorce mediation in Columbia, MO. Ultimately, mediation provides you with a faster, more personalized result while only costing a fraction of the time, effort, and stress litigation demands.
Understanding the Mediator’s Role
You might wonder whether you and your spouse can collaborate amicably enough to negotiate the terms of your divorce entirely on your own. While it may be possible in some cases, it is best to work with a mediator to ensure the negotiated agreement is legally enforceable under Missouri state law. Whenever a divorcing couple mediates or negotiates a divorce agreement, they must submit their drafted agreement to the Columbia family court for final review and approval from a judge.
A mediator can ensure the couple’s drafted divorce agreement is as complete and enforceable as possible. The mediator can also highlight issues that the couple may have overlooked in their negotiations for a more complete divorce agreement. This step can help the couple construct their divorce agreement in such a way that it is flexible enough to account for future events and changes with relative ease.
Why Hire an Attorney for Divorce Mediation?
Each divorcing spouse in divorce mediation may also have their own legal representatives. These attorneys are available to provide guidance and legal support during mediation sessions. While you may believe that you and your soon-to-be-ex are civil enough to negotiate your divorce on your own, having an attorney guide you through your proceedings offers several advantages.
First, your attorney can help you stay focused on your best interests and keep your future in perspective as you negotiate the terms of your divorce in mediation. Second, your attorney can help you explore areas of your divorce that you may have overlooked without legal counsel. Third, the right attorney can streamline the divorce mediation process by coordinating with professional experts, financial advisors, and other parties who may be able to strengthen your negotiation position on various aspects of your divorce.
If you are planning to divorce in Columbia, MO, it is essential to meet with an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. Whether you intend to mediate or believe you must litigate your divorce, the right attorney will make a significant difference in the final outcome of your case.