Divorce Mediation In Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska (St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, Columbia, Springfield, Wichita, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Lincoln, and Beyond)In many divorces, couples take matters to court to seek a resolution. Each side has a lawyer. With each day, the fighting continues. The lawyers spend more time on the case, and the stress continues to rise for the parties. In many cases, the animosity increases. And the parties ultimately end up putting their future, and that of their children, in the hands of a judge.In many instances, there are alternatives for people to consider. One option that many opt to consider is mediation. In mediation, the parties try to reach an amicable settlement outside of court. While mediation can be a great option, it is important to remember that mediation cannot make parties settle.
What Is Divorce and Family Law Mediation?In mediation, the parties sit together with a neutral mediator (and no attorney is usually present with them in mediation sessions unlike collaborative law). A mediator tries to facilitate discourse between the parties such that they are able to reach an agreement. In many instances, multiple sessions as part of a thorough process are needed, for parties to reach an agreement privately outside of court.If an agreement can be reached, the mediator generally puts this agreement in writing. The parties then hire separate counsel to file settlement paperwork in court and obtain the approval of a judge. The truth is that mediators cannot divorce parties. They also cannot present the settlement paperwork in court to get it approved by the judge. A judge also has the discretion to accept or reject a settlement agreement if they find it unconscionable.There is also voluntary and court-ordered mediation. It is important to understand the difference. In voluntary mediation, the parties decide willingly to go to mediation. They also agree on the mediator they are using. In court-ordered mediation, the court selects the mediator for the parties.The kinds of issues that can often be addressed in mediation are comprehensive and include:
- Marital property and debt division;
- Child custody, visitation, parenting time, and allocation of parental responsibilities;
- Child support and other expenses for the children;
- Spousal support (a/k/a maintenance or alimony);
- Tax-related issues; and
- Payment of attorneys’ fees.