Divorce can be lengthy, contentious, and expensive—but it doesn't always have to be. If you and your soon-to-be-ex are able to remain respectful and can agree to act in good faith, you may be able to end your marriage with a settlement agreement or by going through mediation, instead of battling it out in court.
Think you and your spouse may be ideal candidates for a settlement agreement or mediation? The knowledgeable and highly-experienced divorce attorneys with the Law Office of Aaron D. Bundy, PLC, can guide you through the process, and assist you each and every step of the way. Here's what you need to know.
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a popular form of alternative dispute resolution that allows couples to negotiate the terms of their divorce settlement with the assistance of their respective attorneys and a neutral third party, known as a mediator. During the mediation process, the mediator serves as a facilitator, helping divorcing couples reach their own decisions regarding asset and debt division, child custody and support, spousal support and alimony, and other important matters. In Oklahoma, participation in mediation may be voluntary or ordered by the court.
Benefits of Oklahoma Divorce Mediation
Mediation offers numerous advantages over traditional divorce litigation. Some of the key benefits of mediation include:
- Speed. Finalizing a divorce through mediation takes a fraction of the time it takes to finalize a divorce through litigation.
- Cost. Mediation is far less expensive than a series of hearings or a court trial.
- Privacy. Unlike divorce litigation documents, which are public records, mediation is private and confidential.
- Control. Mediation gives divorcing spouses control of the dissolution of marriage process, rather than the court.
- Personalized decisions. Court decisions are often made based on impersonal state laws, whereas mediation allows couples to make their own decisions regarding their divorce.
- Legal counsel. Though mediation isn't litigation, divorcing spouses who are going through mediation can still take advantage of legal advice from their attorneys.
- Improved communication. The mediation process can serve to strengthen communication between spouses, potentially helping them avoid conflicts in the future.
Understanding the Mediation Process
If you and your soon-to-be-ex are considering mediation, knowing what to expect may help to alleviate any anxiety either of you may have about the process. Here's a brief overview of what happens in a typical divorce mediation, as well as tips to help you get through it:
- The mediator will ask for background information on your marriage, your family, and related issues. Some mediators take this information by phone prior to mediation, while others prefer to do so during the first session.
- During mediation sessions, spouses—and their respective attorneys—are usually in separate rooms, with the mediator going back and forth between them. Some mediators prefer to conduct sessions with everyone in the same room; however, that may not be appropriate in all situations.
- Though the mediator, you and your spouse will discuss all the terms of your divorce, including property division, alimony, and child custody and support, with each side exchanging offers throughout the negotiations until an agreement is reached. This can take some time—and if mediation is taking place in separate rooms, you may want to bring something to keep yourself busy during the downtime.
- When you've agreed on the terms, the mediator will draft a settlement agreement for you and your spouse to execute and submit to the court for approval.
- Once the settlement agreement is approved by a judge, the terms are final and the agreement is enforceable.
Divorce Settlement Agreements
If you and your soon-to-be-ex are amicable and know exactly what you want out of the divorce, you may be able to reach an equitable settlement agreement without going through mediation. We can help you draft a settlement agreement to submit to the court.
Contact Us to Learn More About Divorce Mediation and Settlement Agreements
At the Law Office of Aaron D. Bundy, PLC, our skilled attorneys have helped countless clients in northeastern Oklahoma achieve their divorce-related legal goals. We may be able to help you, too. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a private consultation.