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What does the divorce mediation process look like?

When you make the difficult to decision to end a marriage, it's important to be aware of all of the different options moving forward. While it's true that going through a formal trial in front of a Louisiana family court judge is one way, mediation may be a quicker and less antagonist way to divide property and settle on custody issues for some people.

There are usually at least three formal meetings during the mediation process. Both parties, their legal representation and the mediator are all present at these meetings. The purpose of the first meeting is to identify the issues that need to be settled and what information and documentation needs to be produced to do so. This may include financial statements, tax returns or property appraisals.

The final meeting is when the mediation agreement is signed by all parties. In between the first and final meeting, there will be at least one meeting — often times several — to discuss the issues and work toward an agreement. Depending on how many issues there are to settle and how far apart the two parties are initially determines how many meetings this part will require.

Once an agreement has been reached, the papers are filed with the courts, and a family court judge will make the agreement official and legally binding. However, there are some situations where attempts at mediation do not work out. It's always important to be prepared for this possibility by talking with your lawyer about what might happen and your options if an agreement is not able to be reached.

Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Mediation FAQ," accessed April 06, 2016

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