Each year, married couples across the state contemplate separation or divorce for any number of reasons. Dissolution of marriage in Arizona can be a taxing process so it’s difficult to get divorce started–both emotionally, financially, and otherwise.
Fortunately, there are ways to make divorce more civil and less stressful. With divorce mediation, you and your spouse can make the dissolution process easier on yourselves and your family.
What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation offers separating spouses the option to reach divorce and parental agreements without going to court. Avoiding divorce litigation is the main advantage of mediation, as it allows spouses to come to agreements in the informal and more comfortable setting of mediation, rather than in court.
Mediation can make impending divorces easier for a family to experience because there’s an inherent focus on cooperation: each party is to some degree interested in seeing a civil, respectful resolution.
With divorce litigation, disagreements can often become escalated and complex, which can add further emotional stress to spouses and children involved in the separation.
A divorce mediator acts as a neutral, objective third party that helps both spouses express their concerns and goals. The mediator helps both parties achieve their goals in a way that creates positive, beneficial agreements regarding marital property, spousal support and other topics.
A mediator can also be an attorney. In this case, the mediator not only supervises the mediation process, but can help draft legal paperwork that’s necessary to finalize the divorce.
Why Use Divorce Mediation in Arizona?
There are many advantages to divorce mediation. The process can be much less stressful than divorce litigation, and depending on the specific situation, may be a more affordable option. With a contested divorce, it may take much longer to reach marital agreements, which means extended legal fees and court documentation.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to take advantage of mediation is the emotional impact of divorce on children and other family members. Mediation is inherently a less adversarial process than litigation, so children, and the relationships between family members, are not put through as much stress as typical divorce proceedings.
Mediation isn’t always an option, however, and is only effective if both spouses are committed to a civil, respectful separation. If there are significant differences in how marital agreements should be decided upon, then divorce litigation may be the only viable option.
What Can Be Resolved During Mediation?
Divorce mediation can tackle just about any topic or concern the spouses have. Generally, mediation touches on agreements related to:
- Division of marital property
- Child support, if applicable
- Spousal support, if applicable
- Parental agreements and rights
- Any other marital issues
In many cases, the most pressing matters during the separation process are financial. A divorce mediator can help you wade through these financial issues without taking sides; objective financial guidance during this time can make divorce much easier to handle.
Who is Divorce Mediation Best for?
In Arizona, if one spouse requests a divorce, the consent of the other spouse is not required to get the divorce. When the spouses acknowledge the fact that divorce is imminent, mediation offers a way to make the transition as smooth as possible.
That said, mediation is best for couples who both understand that divorce is imminent, and who wish to minimize the impact of the separation on themselves and their family. For many separating couples, the well-being of their children and family relations is a persuading factor in seeking mediation.
If, on the other hand, couples have complex disagreements that cannot be resolved civilly, mediation may not be as effective as divorce litigation.
Collaborative divorce provides divorcing spouses with an opportunity to work out the terms of their dissolution without ever setting foot in a courtroom. Rather than taking an adversarial approach to the matter, spouses work with their attorneys to come up with mutually agreeable terms to the marital dissolution.
The first step to a collaborative divorce involves signing a Participation Agreement. The Participation Agreement outlines what the parties may and may not engage in throughout the process. It may include terms that:
- Require the parties to act in good faith.
- Require the parties to refrain from litigation.
- Require the parties to engage in open communication.
- Prohibit the parties from taking advantage of mistakes made by the other party.
- Require that only neutral experts be counseled with.
- Set forth reasons for withdrawal from the process.
- Require confidentiality.
The idea behind collaborative divorce is that the parties work as a team to create the best possible outcome. Sometimes this team is made up of nobody more than the spouses and their attorneys.
Other times, the team expands to include experts and specialists. Parties to a collaborative divorce can work together to determine whether additional expertise would be beneficial to their process. Spouses that are able to work together in this manner oftentimes find the collaborative divorce model beneficial.
Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.