The opening scene of the movie Wedding Crashers shows a couple in the middle of divorce negotiations, each represented by their attorney. Mediators Jeremy and John bring a neutral, albeit unorthodox, perspective to a contentious negotiation. Though there is so much humor in this scene, these types of negotiations truly occur in family mediation. Deciding the flight miles or the washer dryer, or the heirloom vase are real cases that people need help with. This scene is more real than fiction and shows the important role of a mediator to the divorce process.
When you’re going through a divorce, it’s hard to know what to expect. You might have heard that mediation is the best way to work things out and avoid a long, drawn-out court case, and costs less, however you may still be wondering what exactly mediation is and how it works.
Mediation is a process in which both parties work with a neutral third party (a mediator) outside of court to reach an agreement on all the issues that need to be resolved in order for them to move forward with their lives. Family law mediation gives couples the opportunity to resolve their disputes without involving the courts. A mediator does not represent one person over the other but monitors the balance of power to keep both parties on equal footing until a resolution is reached. The mediator doesn’t decide who wins or loses as is with the case with a judge or arbitrator. Instead, the mediator helps each party understand and respect each other’s point of view so that they can create mutual solutions that work for everyone. Participants save time, money, energy, and stress by avoiding the court system. They can also learn new ways to negotiate with one another and a different way of communicating needs and wants that may serve them in the future.
Maricopa County courts have begun ordering parties to attend private mediation in an attempt to settle their matters. Private mediation is often chosen as a matter of course, with the court order.
Mediation allows people who are in conflict to examine the underlying causes of their feelings, moving past the initial problems to what really lies at the core of those feelings. It can help avoid conflict by giving everyone a chance to be heard and resolving the problem in a peaceful way.
Divorce mediation can help parties avoid making hasty decisions out of anger or hurt, that could affect their future happiness or financial stability. All types of family law matters, including legal separation and divorce, annulment, and maternity/paternity establishment and post-decree matters can be resolved through mediation. This may include modifying existing orders or terms in the decree or parenting plan. New schools, new doctors, new spouses, new homes new jobs, new significant others, new changes may require the help of a third party and better to try first outside of court before relying again on the court.
Mediation can be very beneficially to the whole family if your divorce involves children or if you have significant assets that need to be divided. Mediators are usually trained in family law and can help two parties come to an agreement that protects their interests while working within the confines of state laws. Many mediators are entering family law and are not lawyers such as financial planners and mental health professionals. Those who know the law and practice in the family courts are a great resource for formulating terms that go into your legal documents that are filed with the court.
McMurdie Law and Mediation provides personalized assistance and three decades of experience to help you proceed with your divorce, or family law case, in a way that meets your needs. Mediation can even be done remotely, using web conferencing software such as Zoom or FaceTime. Call McMurdie Law and Mediation at 480-777-5500 today to schedule a consultation.