If you reach a full agreement with a Phoenix Divorce Mediator, and most people do, you will not have to set foot in Court. One can find an AZ family law mediator, like this author, who will prepare all documentation (such as the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and accompanying documents; Acceptance of Service and Decree of Dissolution of Marriage) for the parties’ review, approval and signature and submit it to the Court. The Court will review the documentation, and if the final documents appear appropriate, fair, equitable and in the children’s best interests (if there are children), the Court will enter the Decree of Dissolution of Marriage and mail the signed Decree to the mediation participants.
Not every mediator can complete documents for mediation participants. To complete documents, the mediator must be an attorney, or at least a certified document preparer. It is best to confirm the credentials of any mediator. Arizona does not regulate mediators, so anyone can call him/herself a mediator, even without any skills, training or credentials.
Mediation participants also can avoid going to court in other disputes. Sometimes the parties just need a contract, defining their respective obligations. The mediator can draft such an agreement, which is binding on the parties when signed by the parties. If Court orders other than a Decree are necessary, the mediator can assist the parties and often draft the documents and submit them to the Court. The mediation participants always have the right to have the documents reviewed by an attorney, accountant or other professional before signing them. Mediation participants can also choose to draft the documents themselves or have their attorneys draft the documents, if they have attorneys.
In the uncommon case that does not settle, the parties would still need to litigate any unresolved issues, unless they agree to use the mediator or another professional as an arbitrator. The parties can agree that the mediator/arbitrator can enter final and binding decisions.
Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator and attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about mediation, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or email@example.com. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.
Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
a Professional Limited Liability Company
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260