Arizona Mediation – An Alternative To Litigating Your Divorce
Everyone has heard about the nightmares associated with divorce litigation:
huge attorney and expert fees, aggressive letters from the opposing attorney, and endless requests for documents and information about your private life that you must provide. At the end of it all, usually one or both parties are not wholly satisfied with how the Court has ruled. Mediation is an alternative to divorce litigation. This article describes the basic process for divorce mediation in Arizona. When the parties do not have attorneys, the process is generally as follows:
First, both parties must agree to use mediation. To reach the decision of whether mediation is right for you and your spouse, it is useful to take advantage of the free consultation often offered by the mediator. While each party can meet separately with the mediator, this meeting is most effective when both parties meet with the mediator at the same time. Doing this helps both parties see that the mediator is neutral and does not favor either party. The parties can review additional information about mediation at AZmediator.com.
The mediation process is different if the parties have attorneys. In that case, the attorneys generally schedule the mediation and provide the mediator with a Mediation Memorandum setting forth the issues and what the parties would like. The parties and attorneys then meet at a mutually agreeable time and generally complete the mediation in one session (usually four to eight hours in length). Before the mediation starts, the parties will each fill out a form requesting basic information about the parties’ assets, debts and other issues related to the divorce. The parties do not have to know everything about their financial picture or what they want at the first mediation session. The mediation usually takes place over the course of two or more two hour sessions, but the mediation sometimes can be completed in one day. Participants often need to gather information or documentation in between sessions. Participants can also choose to consult with professionals (property appraisers, child specialists, attorneys) before entering a final agreement.
Even when parties use mediation to resolve their disputes, the parties still have to file paperwork with the Superior Court in Arizona to get a divorce. While the mediator cannot give legal advice, she can help the participants obtain and file the appropriate forms and pay the appropriate filing fees.
Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC
a Professional Limited Liability Company
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260