Lately, things have been hard for you and your spouse, and now you’ve both agreed that getting a divorce is the best thing for the both of you and your family going forward. However, you know that you don’t want to go through a lengthy, contentious and costly divorce process, so you’re looking into another way that you can resolve your issues and ensure you are protected throughout the process.
That’s why you may want to consider mediation instead of a divorce trial. Though a divorce trial is sometimes necessary, mediation can help you get what you need out of the divorce as well.
Let’s look at the different between mediation and a divorce trial to determine which one is the best option for you.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution, or ADR, where you and your spouse try to solve your issues outside of the courtroom with the help of a certified family law mediator. This can be especially helpful in a no-fault divorce, where you determine that nobody is responsible for the divorce and you are agreeing to separate amicably. However, if your spouse abused you, then you may be eligible for a fault divorce and it might not be wise to try to work it out in mediation.
Typically, in mediation, you and your spouse will pay for the mediator unless you both agree that one of you will pay the fee. The mediator will attempt to work out issues that you and your spouse cannot work out on your own, such as who gets what assets or how you’ll share custody of your children.
Once you find a resolution to your issues, the mediator will then prepare a document that will lay out the terms of the agreements. This is called a Mediated Settlement Agreement. Once all the terms are agreed upon, you and your spouse will sign the document. Once signed, the Mediated Settlement Agreement is binding on both parties and non-revocable.
What Is a Divorce Trial?
You and your spouse will have a divorce trial if you cannot resolve your issues in mediation. Then, the judge will have the final say on issues like who will get custody of the children, what the amount for child support will be, whether or not a spouse will get alimony/spousal maintenance, if a prenup/postnup was valid and how the assets and debts should be divided.
In terms of any child issues, the judge will make a decision based on what’s in the best interests of the child. For example, if Parent A has a job and a stable home and Parent B does not, then the child will most likely live with Parent A.
You can go back to court if you disagree with the judge’s decision regarding child support and custody or alimony. For example, if you have to pay child support but you suddenly lose your job, you can file to have your child support lowered until you’re able to get a job again.
Choosing Mediation or a Divorce Trial
Mediation is almost always the better route because it’s faster, cheaper and much less draining than having a divorce trial. Divorce trials can take months or even years, and you may have to go to court multiple times, gather witnesses and collaborate with your family law attorney to determine what you’re going to say when you’re on the witness stand. Plus, even after you’ve spent months in court and the judge has made a determination, your spouse could still appeal the outcome, dragging out the case even longer.
Your family law attorney will do their best to showcase the truth so that the divorce is fair. They will stand up for you, talk to your spouse’s lawyer and take care of all the legalities so that you don’t have to worry. Instead, you can think about your future and start working on getting your new life post-divorce set up.
Hiring a Family Law Attorney to Help
A family law attorney will be able to walk you through the sometimes complicated divorce process, advocate for you and see to it that you get what you need out of your divorce. That would include assets, child support, spousal maintenance, and child custody.
During this emotional and stressful time for you and your family, you need reassurance that things will work out at the end of your divorce process and that you can start to rebuild in a positive way. With an experienced and personable family law attorney looking out for you, you can do just that.
If you’re going through a divorce, Boudreaux Hunter & Associates, LLC is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation and figure out the right decision for you and your family.