If you are experiencing a divorce for the first time, you may envision yourself winding up in a tense courtroom showdown with your spouse. This is likely borne of a lifetime of television shows, celebrity divorce news, and movies that depict dramatic and over-the-top trials. This misperception has an unfortunate consequence of scaring people off from ending a marriage that isn’t working.
In reality, married couples rarely end up in a contested trial to resolve a divorce and the associated legal issues, like property division, alimony, or child custody. Rather, in the majority of cases, people are able to reach agreements amongst themselves. Even when legal proceedings are underway and appear headed toward trial, courts may order parties to participate in mediation beforehand.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an informal conference meeting between the parties to a lawsuit that aims to amicably resolve some, or all, of the parties’ legal issues. Courts can order mediation as an alternative means of resolving disputes, thus saving courts time and saving the parties money. If you have been ordered to mediation, here is a sampling of what you should expect.
Mediation is nothing like the tense and formal experience of a trial. There is no judge, no courtroom, no jury, and no witness stand. Rather, mediation usually occurs at a law office or some sort of mediation center, which already is far more comfortable for most people than a courtroom. A mediator, who is usually a highly experienced attorney, supervises mediation, but mediation can also be informal just among the parties and counsel, too.
If an attorney is involved: When the parties and their attorneys arrive at mediation, they usually begin in the same room, where each attorney briefly explains their position to the mediator. Then, each side is escorted to their own private area, while the mediator goes from area to area trying to split the difference in their positions. The ultimate goal is for the parties to reach a formal agreement by the end of mediation, which they later present to the court for approval.
While there are some mediations that take far shorter due to an insurmountable distance between what each side wants, you should always anticipate spending a whole day in mediation. Further, while there is no legal requirement that the parties actually reach a resolution, it is in your interest to enter mediation with open ears and an open mind.
Trust Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. to Fight for You
Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. is a law firm that provides comprehensive legal services to individuals looking for professional, high quality representation with their family law case. If you are considering a divorce, you need to contact a lawyer. You have significant legal rights when it comes to property division, spousal support, and child custody. Rather than leave your future to chance, let our team of experienced attorneys guide you. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a consultation or contact our office through our website.