Not every divorce is a bitter event with both parties fighting over shared property and custody of their children. Some settlements are arrived at amicably. Both parties agree on how to split their assets and how to share custody of their kids. This is known as an uncontested divorce. It’s an approach to settling a divorce without the need for litigation. Both soon-to-be ex-spouses work toward reaching an agreement that is best for everyone involved.
Uncontested divorces are typically settled through mediation. Both parties negotiate a settlement with the help of a mediator. The mediator, often an attorney, tries to maintain an equal balance of power between the separating spouses. This helps to prevent one spouse from dominating the other.
It’s always advisable to consult a divorce lawyer if you intend to go through mediation. In the space below, we’ll explain the reasons. Although mediation is simpler than a contested divorce, and is less prone to battles over property and child custody, it’s a good idea to seek legal counsel.
Coaching On Matters Related To Negotiation
Negotiating a settlement that is fair to both parties may be more complex than either party realizes. For example, suppose a house is owned by both spouses and current market conditions preclude selling it for a reasonable price. Should one of the spouses be allowed to continue living in the house? If so, should that individual pay the entire mortgage or should the monthly mortgage be split between both parties? If the latter, should it be split evenly or should one spouse pay more than the other? If children are involved, should they live in the home? How might that affect issued related to custody?
This is merely one piece of a divorce that may need to be negotiated. There are many others. A good divorce attorney can help his or her client come up with solutions for these types of puzzles. The attorney can also provide pointers on how to negotiate an agreement that suits everyone involved.
Advice On Whether Mediation Is The Right Approach
Divorce mediation is not the ideal solution for every couple. Sometimes, one spouse is receptive to the approach, but the other spouse is not. Other times, the separating spouses are initially enthusiastic about pursuing an uncontested settlement, but the process quickly breaks down as one or both parties move forward in bad faith.
A divorce attorney or legal advisor can help his or her client decide whether mediation is an appropriate solution. He or she can speak with both spouses to inform them of the pros and cons of the approach. If the couple decides to pursue mediation, an attorney can help them to choose a qualified mediator.
Preparation Of Paperwork To File With The Court
In order for a separating couple to finalize their divorce, certain documents needs to be filed with the court. The types of paperwork that need to be filed vary by state. It’s easy to miss an important document when rushing to complete the divorce process.
A legal advisor can ensure the right paperwork is submitted to the court by the appropriate deadlines. This saves the separating couple the time and effort involved with doing it themselves.
Evaluation Of Your Settlement Agreement
The mediator will help the divorcing spouses forge a settlement both parties can live with. But that does not mean the settlement is in the best interests of both parties. Nor does it necessarily mean it is fair. A settlement may appear to be equitable on the surface, but be decidedly less so in light of circumstances that may have been neglected during mediation.
A divorce lawyer can evaluate a settlement and ensure it provides everything his or her client expects it to provide. If something is missing, or the wording in the settlement allows too much uncertainty, the attorney can voice these concerns.
Divorce mediation can offer an ideal approach for reaching a fair settlement agreement between separating spouses. But it’s important for both parties to consult attorneys to ensure their respective needs and interests are fully addressed.
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