Many Louisiana residents have heard of divorce mediation, but don't know exactly what it is or how it differs from litigated divorce. Many people find mediation a less stressful, more amicable way to end their marriage and resolve issues involving asset division, support and child custody on their own terms. This is particularly important for divorcing couples with children. Divorce mediation generally has the added advantages of being quicker and less expensive than litigated divorce.
Of course, mediation isn't for everyone. Even though the mediator is often a family law attorney, his or her role is to be neutral. One or both spouses may consult their own attorneys for advice. On some occasions, attorneys may be allowed into the mediation sessions. However, they have to support the mediation process.
The onus is on the couple to work together to come up with a financial settlement and a plan for parenting their children. If a couple's relationship has deteriorated to the point that they aren't able to work together, mediation likely isn't for them. However, those couples who are able to settle their divorce through mediation generally report that they are happier because they have crafted the terms of the divorce themselves.
So what role does the mediator play? The mediator is there to assist with a number of things, depending on the specific issues the couple need to work out to finalize their divorce. These may include:
-- Facilitating communication by identifying areas of disagreement and agreement as well as brainstorming options
-- Providing legal information and guidelines for temporary spousal support and child support
-- Recommending resources for therapy and help arrange for assistance from other professionals who can help with things like property appraisals and pension plan valuations
-- Preparing the necessary legal documentation, including interim and final agreements
If you and your spouse choose to settle your divorce through mediation, an experienced Louisiana divorce mediator can help guide you through the process so that each of you can proceed with your future without enduring the expense and unpleasantness of a litigated divorce.
Source: Noozhawk, "Maureen Grattan: What is Divorce Mediation, Who Should Use It and When?," Maureen Grattan, Dec. 26, 2015