I’ve been getting telephone calls for mediation lately and some of them have been confusing. Some people have called and said we have worked out all of our differences and we just need to mediate so we can get divorced. Others call because they do not know what the process is for getting a divorce. Others call because they filed their petition for divorce and know that mediation is required. So this blog is to help you figure out when you need mediation and when you do not.
First and foremost, if you have an attorney he/she will tell you when mediation is necessary. Some cases do not need mediation, some do. Some courts require it, some do not. Sometimes you can work out agreements without mediation. So trust in your attorney to tell you when you need mediation.
The rest of these are if you do not have an attorney:
- If you have reached agreements on all issues including property division, spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, possession and access, decision making regarding the children then typically you do not need mediation. There are some exceptions to this such as when a Judge has said he/she will not grant the divorce because of certain provisions that the Judge does not feel are in the best interest of the children or it is an unjust property division. If you have agreed on all issues, then what you need is someone to draft the paperwork for you to file with the Court.
- You may have heard that the court requires mediation before a divorce can be final. That ONLY applies when the parties do not reach an agreement on their own. So if you have an agreement you generally do not need mediation.
- You do not need mediation if you are trying to figure out the process for filing a divorce. A mediator is not a legal advisor. A mediator is there to try to help you reach agreements to resolve your divorce.
- You DO need mediation when you cannot resolve all issues yourselves.
- You DO need mediation before a final trial of your case if you have not reached an agreement.
I hope this helps clear up when you need mediation and when you do not.