Divorce mediation: What you should know

Oklahoma couples who are going through a divorce often want to benefit from advantages of mediation. These advantages include the fact that mediation is often faster, less expensive and far less stressful than litigating a divorce in court. Mediation can also help speed up the process of out-of-court settlement negotiations.

Although couples are often open to the prospect of mediating their divorces, they usually don't know what to expect when entering the mediation process. Let's take a look at some common questions in this regard.

What is a mediator and what will he or she do?

Your mediator takes a neutral stance with regard to your divorce settlement negotiations. His or her goal is to help you and your spouse communicate respectfully, so that both of you have a chance to speak up and voice your opinions, needs and concerns.

The mediator will also offer information about how the legal system works and how a lawyer or judge could see and/or decide different issues. The mediator may also offer proposed solutions to negotiation roadblocks.

The mediation process: What should you expect?

Most divorce mediations will require several meetings of approximately one to two hours each. Here is what those meetings may look like:

Meeting 1: Here you and your spouse and the mediator will put forward the issues that you must decide to finalize your divorce agreement. You will also determine what pieces of information the parties will have to gather and share with one another. The couples will then need to gather the information, and they may contract accountants and appraisers to help in the asset division process.

Next meetings: The meetings that follow the first meeting will seek to arrive at agreements -- and compromises if necessary -- to bring various issues to conclusion. Here the mediator may provide guidance about the court system and how a court could decide different issues.

The last meeting: In the last meeting, the couples will receive a finalized divorce agreement drafted by the mediator to reflect what the spouses agreed to during the previous mediation sessions. The couples will be asked to sign the divorce agreement, and then they will submit it to the court for a judge's approval.

Mediation may not be for everyone

Mediation is a great way to finalize your divorce quickly and cost effectively. However, the process is not for all couples. Although a skilled mediator can prevent spouses from falling into heated arguments and disagreements, some spouses may never be able to agree on anything. In this kind of situation, it may be necessary to litigate the divorce in court.

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