Couples who are divorcing face a number of difficult and sensitive issues. Couples are expected to work out their differences as much as possible by agreeing to divorce settlement terms. Settlement terms include such things as property distribution, child custody and care and alimony, among others. When couples have a dispute over these issues, it can create a lengthy and difficult divorce process. In addition, disagreements are stressful for everyone and can make the divorce much more upsetting. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand the many issues that can cause acrimony, and we know how to help try to resolve them before they escalate.

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process in which a professional assists couples in resolving some of the disputes in a divorce settlement. A mediator is a fair and impartial expert who meets with both parties in order to try to come to an agreement that is agreeable to both parties. Mediation is generally a requirement in any divorce in which child custody or equitable distribution claims are made.

When a case can be settled through negotiations and mediation, it is usually less costly and less stressful for all parties. The purpose of mediation is to reach an agreement before the case goes to court. Mediation allows both parties to have input into the decisions that are ultimately reached as a result. It is often better to take part in the decision-making process rather than allow a judge to make a ruling. Neither party may end up liking the decision of the court.

How Does Mediation Work?

There are some facts about mediation that are helpful in understanding how it works. A certified private mediator is a neutral party that is trained to facilitate negotiations between parties. Mediation typically occurs in several meetings in which both parties and their attorneys may attend.

The mediator is a professional who assists in the resolution of a variety of divorce disputes. Both parties generally need to be open to compromise in order to resolve some of the issues that are in dispute. Mediation is usually reserved for major areas of disagreement. These disagreements may be holding up the divorce, keeping it from moving forward.

Sometimes serious disputes can delay a divorce for months. The longer a divorce drags on, the more of an emotional and financial toll it will take on everyone involved. In some cases, parties are simply digging in their heels or trying to keep the other party from getting property that is rightfully theirs. Petty arguments can escalate and require a mediator for resolution.

Mediators must be certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission. This requires a great deal of education and training. Once an agreement is reached, a final settlement agreement or consent order must be drafted by a knowledgeable Mooresville family law attorney. Then, both parties need to sign the document.

Do We Need Mediation?

Mediation is generally one of the last attempts to help parties reach an agreement. An experienced Mooresville family law attorney will represent your interests and help to reach a settlement agreement without having to go to mediation.

Your attorney will negotiate with your spouse’s attorney to discuss the various matters of the settlement including those that are in dispute. Your lawyer will review these issues with you and assist in determining which ones are actually worth fighting over. Your attorney will oversee the entire process and give you the much-needed support and guidance during this stressful time.

When it becomes apparent that negotiations have reached their end with no agreement between parties, it may be time to consider mediation. Mediation offers a positive way to get through a complex situation in which neither party is willing to budge. A mediator knows how to aid with the discussion process and provide some unbiased input that both parties can use to help solve the problem.

Once a settlement is reached, regardless of whether mediation was utilized or not, your attorney will draft a legal separation agreement and property settlement. Both parties sign the agreement and the judge will be able to utilize it as part of the divorce order.

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we understand how difficult some issues are to resolve during a divorce. We will help give you the guidance and support you need while fighting for your rightful settlement. We protect your rights while ensuring that you walk away from your marriage with everything to which you are entitled. Contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce today.