Ending a marriage is a difficult process, no matter what the underlying reason for divorce may be or what the divorce entails. It’s natural to feel lost when it comes to what you can expect during this difficult process. However, you may have more options than you realize when it comes to making your divorce easier. Divorce mediation has quickly become one of the most popular forms of alternative dispute resolution for divorce in Concord, NC. Divorce mediation can potentially allow you and your spouse to avoid the typical stress of the divorce process. With private settlement negotiations, you may reach results that wouldn’t be obtainable through litigation.
The Law Offices of Aimee E. Cain strive to help every client we represent make informed choices about their dissolution proceedings. We understand that you probably have lots of questions about how to best approach your divorce case. If you think that divorce mediation could be right for you, our team will explain the process in detail. A Concord divorce mediation attorney is an invaluable asset when you begin the mediation process.
Divorce mediation is essentially a private settlement process for divorce. Instead of enduring prolonged litigation, a divorcing couple may wish to engage in a more comfortable and constructive resolution process. Divorce mediation unfolds under the direction of a neutral mediator, a family law professional who is an impartial third party to the couple’s divorce. The mediator may have no conflict of interest favoring either spouse.
Once the divorcing spouses have agreed on a mediator, they can schedule mediation sessions at their discretion and begin negotiating divorce terms. Both spouses should have legal counsel representing them during mediation. While the spouses will likely take the lead during negotiations, legal counsel is still crucial for ensuring fair and reasonable terms. As mediation progresses, the mediator will keep discussions focused and help the couple draft a divorce settlement.
After resolving every issue the divorce entails, the spouses will have a mediated divorce settlement they can bring before a Concord, NC family court judge for final approval. The judge must verify that the mediated settlement aligns with state law. Additionally, some issues cannot be resolved in mediation, particularly issues regarding child custody and child support. The divorcing parents may negotiate the preferred terms for a parenting plan, but they must submit this proposal to a family court judge for approval.
You and your spouse must agree on the mediator who will preside over your divorce mediation sessions. Many family law attorneys offer divorce mediation as a specific service, and many former divorce attorneys specialize solely in mediation. Your chosen mediator may not have any conflicts of interest that would favor either you or your spouse. It’s a good idea to have your attorney and your spouse’s attorney develop a list of candidates. Then you and your spouse would simply choose whichever mediator is available and suits both of your preferences.
Many couples divorcing in Concord and throughout North Carolina choose divorce mediation for the immediate benefits of saving time and money on their divorce cases. Mediation typically requires a fraction of the time that litigation would require, meaning the couple can resolve their divorce much faster than a trial would allow. This also means that both spouses will need legal counsel for a shorter time, resulting in much more affordable legal fees. Most divorce attorneys charge clients by the hour. The longer a case takes to conclude, the more it will cost each spouse in legal fees.
Another key benefit to choosing mediation is privacy. If you and your spouse resolve your divorce through litigation, it will unfold like any other civil court case. This includes the fact that everything said during litigation becomes part of the public record. Divorce proceedings may necessitate discussion of deeply personal topics. Many couples choose mediation simply to keep these details out of the public eye.
Perhaps the most important benefit of divorce mediation is control over the outcome. When you litigate, the judge has the final say on every aspect of your divorce. Conversely, mediation often allows divorcing spouses to reach much more personalized outcomes. You have more flexibility to negotiate and can reach more favorable terms than a family court judge would deliver.
Many couples consider divorce mediation an “a la carte” approach to settlement. Many divorces involve very complex issues the divorcing spouses may not be able to resolve on their own. Divorcing parents will need to resolve custody of their children. This issue must be settled by a family court judge. When it’s not possible to completely resolve divorce through mediation, the couple simply addresses what they can and save the remaining issues for last. Once the couple has exhausted the extent of the issues they can cover in mediation, they move to litigation to settle outstanding issues.
You might think that divorce mediation is off the table as a possibility for your divorce due to the fact that you and your spouse seem to fight about everything. However, even if you and your spouse have difficulty with negotiating, you can still take advantage of mediation. Your attorneys can effectively act as proxies, relaying messages between the two of you and the mediator. This will take longer, but it allows you to take advantage of mediation without the need for much face-to-face interaction.
Ultimately, it is worth it for any divorcing couple to consider mediation. The process is straightforward, accessible, and offers undeniable benefits. The Law Offices of Aimee E. Cain provide legal representation for divorce mediation in Concord, NC, and we can help you take advantage of alternative dispute resolution for your divorce.
If you’re not sure whether mediation would be right for you, contact the Law Offices of Aimee E. Cain today to schedule a consultation with an experienced Concord divorce mediation lawyer.
Mediation offers clients the opportunity to resolve their disputes with one another before an attorney, not a judge, who acts as the mediator. Both parties are still entitled to their own legal representation but the environment is far less stressful than a full-blown trial.
The mediator is a neutral third party with no stake in the outcome of the dispute. Their role is to preside over the proceedings and facilitate the negotiations of the parties and assist them in reaching an agreement in which both parties are satisfied.
Concord mediation attorney Aimee E. Cain is a mediator certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission as well as a certified Family Financial Mediator and is able to assist her clients in the capacity most suited to their needs.
In North Carolina, parties are now required to mediate disputes related to equitable distribution (the division of martial assets) and may use mediation to resolve other divorce matters such as alimony, child custody, support, and visitation.
Under the Family Financial Settlement Program (FFSP), the parties incur the cost of mediation, unless there is a finding by the court that a party is indigent. The parties may select a mediator of their choice or the court will appoint one. Court-appointed mediators are paid a pre-determined hourly rate in addition to a one-time administrative fee, whereas mediators selected by the parties are paid pursuant to their own agreement.
The mediation may take place in a designated space at the courthouse or the office of the mediator or an attorney. If the parties do not reach a settlement agreement, the case will proceed to trial. Many cases that do not initially settle at mediation, however, do so prior to reaching trial.
The North Carolina Custody and Visitation Mediation Program is for parents seeking to resolve their disputes related to the custody and visitation of their children at no cost to the parties. Prior to the case being set for trial, the court refers the parents to this program, which requires they attend an orientation session and at least one full mediation session in an effort to reach a settlement.
While the court does not require parents to come to an agreement here, it mandates that an effort be made by both sides to resolve their dispute without the necessity of going to trial.
Litigation is not the only option available to family law clients. Aimee E. Cain and her Concord mediation law firm are equipped to represent clients in mediation conferences whether they require the skill of a North Carolina attorney or mediator. Contact her to discuss your case.