Divorce Mediation Attorneys in Mesa
Dedicated to the Amicable Resolution of Your Divorce
By the time a marriage reaches the point where divorce is on the table, effective communication may be nearly impossible. This makes the process drawn out and contentious, often causing stress – especially when there are children involved.
Mediation is a process that uses a neutral third party to help both spouses reach an agreement and avoid litigation. Of course, it is not a viable option for every situation. There are some cases where differences are so significant, mediation is ineffective, making litigation necessary. If you are interested in exploring divorce mediation in Mesa, Edwards & Petersen | PLC can help. We offer sound legal advice and counsel to individuals throughout East Valley mediating their divorce.
What Is Divorce Mediation & How Does It Work?
In Arizona divorce mediation, a neutral third party joins both spouses in working through disputes to reach an agreement and/or settlement on a variety of points. The mediator does not enforce a decision or judgment as a judge would in litigation. Instead, the mediator works with both parties in their attempts to establish terms and enter a Divorce Settlement Agreement. In other words, the spouses decide on the terms of settlement.
Mediation works by allowing both parties to effectively communicate and work through conflicts to develop solutions that are acceptable to both spouses. At the same time, the couple gains conflict resolution skills that they bring to future interactions, an especially valuable side effect if the couple has children together.
The mediation process honors confidentiality to promote open communication among participants. Initial mediation sessions involve all participants, and the mediator explains the process. Participants typically sign a confidentiality agreement and may provide a statement detailing their issues or grounds for conflict. One party can agree to pay for the mediator’s fee or the parties may split the cost.
From there, the mediator may work with both spouses together to discuss options, or they may work with each person separately (known as a caucus). A successful mediation ends with both parties arriving at an agreement.
When Is Mediation More Likely to Succeed?
For some couples, mediation is less likely to succeed. This is particularly true if the decision to divorce took one spouse by surprise and he or she is opposed to the idea. If enough time passes, he or she may become open to mediation, but in the beginning, you’ll likely face resistance.
Mediation is more likely to succeed when:
- Both parties agree to divorce
- Both parties approve of the others’ parenting
- Both parties are willing to speak up for themselves
- Both parties can disagree without fighting dirty
- Both spouses have full knowledge of the marriage’s finances
- Neither party abuses illegal substances or alcohol
- Neither spouse blames the other
- Neither spouse has lied about finances and/or property
- Reconciliation is off the table
- The mutual goal is an amicable divorce
- There is no history of falsehood
- There is no history of violence
The Divorce Mediation Process in Arizona
To help build trust and find points of compromise, the mediator typically begins the process by discussing simpler, less contentious issues. As partners begin agreeing to cede certain points, it helps open the lines of communication.
The mediator helps both parties stay focused, encouraging each to express his or her feelings, wishes, and goals. In addition, the mediator encourages active listening, an important aspect of finding a resolution. A willingness to listen, understand your spouse’s positions, and compromise is vital to the success of mediation.
Learning to listen is a valuable tool for after the divorce if you plan to co-parent. When children are involved, your relationship with your spouse does not end just because your marriage does.
Developing an understanding of your spouse’s opinions and positions doesn’t require agreeing with them. However, even when you disagree, this level of understanding makes resolving issues easier. What’s more, when you make the effort to understand what’s important to your spouse, he or she is more likely to do the same for you.
Finally, compromise considers the wants and needs of both parties, rather than deciding that there’s only one viable solution. It requires considering each person’s opinions and ideas and admitting that both have value.
Finalizing the Agreement
If the mediation is successful, the couple arrives at a solution. Either the mediator or attorneys draft an agreement which will be delivered to the Court for approval. If children are involved, you may also develop a co-parenting plan at this time. Once both parties sign the resolution, the documents are included with your divorce paperwork. This means that, if the need arises, the court would enforce the mediation agreement. However, this is rare, as the mediation process typically ensures the compliance of both parties.
Mediation Does Not Replace Attorney Representation
Participation in mediation does not replace the legal advice of an experienced divorce attorney. Whether or not a proposed resolution is fair and equitable under the law is something the mediator cannot answer for you. The mediator is not allowed to give you any legal advice, even if they are an attorney. If you are contemplating divorce and are entering mediation, discuss your case with Edwards & Petersen | PLC. Our Mesa divorce mediation attorneys can represent you and make sure your rights are protected.
Call (480) 418-5656 to get started.
I couldn't have made it through the most difficult time in my families' lives if it weren't for the support I received from Brian Petersen and Josh Edwards.
-Michelle (Former Client)
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