Stay Out of Court With Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation has become a popular alternative method of divorce in recent years. When divorcing couples engage in mediation, they hire a mediator instead of each hiring a personal attorney. The mediator acts as a neutral party who does not take sides. Instead, he or she is an experienced professional who provides whatever legal, parenting, financial and other information the couple needs. In addition, he or she guides the couple through their negotiation process with each other to resolve their differences and arrive at a mutually satisfactory divorce settlement.

Mediation is particularly good for divorcing couples who:

  • desire help and guidance in resolving differences that remain;
  • do not want to have to go to court and fight each other;
  • want their divorce to go as smoothly and quickly as possible, with a minimum of stress for themselves and their children;
  • want to make sure they are covering everything that needs to be covered; and
  • want to know that the court will approve the agreement they reach.

Many mediators have a background in psychology as well as in law. Consequently, they can help divorcing couples keep the best interests of their children in the forefront of their negotiations. This leads to more agreeable and productive negotiations where couples become focused on developing a healthy post-divorce parenting arrangement. Their children thus receive the benefits of a continuing relationship with both parents, free from negative comments and/or recriminations.

Arizona is a no-fault state, meaning that there is no significance attached to which spouse, called the Petitioner, initiates the divorce and which spouse, called the Respondent, accepts service of the divorce petition and responds to the Petitioner. Arizona requires a mandatory 60-day waiting period before the divorce can be finalized. Often a mediation service can get all the paperwork drafted, signed, filed, and approved by the court within 90 days, including the judge’s signature on the Consent Decree for divorce by agreement.

The cost of divorce mediation is significantly lower than the cost of hiring two separate attorneys. This is especially true when couples choose divorce document preparation, also known as-needed mediation. Here everything is done by phone, email, and/or video conferencing and the divorcing couple never need go to the mediator’s office or to court. If, however, they desire one or more in-person mediation meetings to address special questions or concerns, such services are readily available on a prorated hourly basis; couples are only charged for the actual time spent.

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