Exploring mediation as an alternative to a traditional Arizona divorce

Mediation offers a non-confrontational alternative to a tradition court divorce, and allows couples to create their own divorce settlement.

Divorce in Arizona is not one size fits all. While some couples are able to amicably arrange the details of their divorce settlement without any legal assistance, others are caught in a lengthy court battle and are unable to come to an agreement in terms. For those couples who lie somewhere in between, mediation may be the perfect option.

What is mediation?

According to the American Bar Association, mediation gives divorcing couples the ability to discuss the terms of their divorce, including child visitation, child custody, property division and asset distribution, with the help of a third party mediator. Although the couple is ultimately responsible for negotiating the terms of their divorce decree, a mediator is present to answer any questions the couple may have. They are also able to guide the discussion and ensure that all topics have been covered.

Mediation vs. court divorce

Mediation is not ideal in every divorce situation. Couples that have heated emotions toward one another and are caught in a negative relationship may be better going through a traditional court divorce. However, couples who wish to come together and arrange the details of their own divorce settlement rather than leave the fate of their property in the hands of the legal system may want to consider civil mediation. The ABA lists the following advantages to mediation when compared to a traditional court divorce:

•· Quicker: Couples are usually able to settle their divorce within a few mediation sessions, while some court divorces can take months or years to settle.

•· More affordable: There are little to no court costs associated with mediation divorces, and a shorter negotiation period results in less financial burden.

•· Couples are able to customize their settlement: Since mediation allows couples to personalize the details of their own divorce decree, they are able to establish a unique plan that benefits them both.

•· More positive experience: Couples that must maintain a relationship with one another, such as a parenting or business relationship, often find that mediation leaves them with a more positive feeling toward one another.

•· Better compliance: Studies show that couples are more compliant with the details of their divorce decree when they have had a key role in creating the settlement.

Keep in mind that in order for mediation to work, both parties must be willing to reach a divorce settlement that is in the best interest of everyone involved, according to the Huffington Post.

The need to involve an attorney

Although attorneys are not required during mediation, many couples choose to seek counsel from a family lawyer during the mediation sessions. While a mediator can only provide general, neutral legal information, an attorney can offer personalized legal counsel that will help to maximize your settlement.

Keywords: mediation, divorce