Divorce mediation is one of the most popular options for handling the divorce process in Oklahoma City, OK, and throughout the Midwestern US. If you are preparing to end your marriage, it’s vital to know the value of divorce mediation and the benefits it can provide. Review the following frequently asked questions about divorce mediation and consult your Oklahoma City, OK, divorce attorney to determine whether this option would be right for you.

Q: Why Should I Consider Divorce Mediation?

A: The divorce process is incredibly stressful, and taking a divorce to court can potentially mean months of intensive litigation that will be very expensive in terms of your legal fees. Mediation offers a means of expediting your divorce and saving time and money. Divorce mediation is also entirely private, unlike litigation, where everything said in court becomes a public record.

Another important advantage of divorce mediation is the level of control you can exercise over the outcome of your case. Instead of leaving everything in the hands of a judge, you can potentially reach a more personally agreeable divorce settlement through mediation. If you want to save time and money on your divorce, maintain more control over the outcome of your divorce settlement, and keep your divorce-related issues entirely private, mediation is the best option.

Q: How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?

A: Mediation only takes as long as a divorcing couple needs to negotiate the terms of their divorce. If you and your spouse do not have children, share minimal assets, and are relatively agreeable toward one another, it’s possible to finish divorce mediation in a few weeks at most. More complex cases may require a month or two of sessions. If you are unsure about how long you should expect mediation to take for your divorce case, consult your attorney.

Q: What Is the Best Way to Prepare for Divorce Mediation?

A: Your Oklahoma City, OK, divorce attorney can help you prepare for mediation. Typically, you must prepare by conducting a financial disclosure and providing proof of all the assets and property you own. You should also gather any evidence that you believe warrants legal review in the mediation process. One of the best things you can do to prepare for divorce mediation is to hire an experienced attorney to represent you throughout your proceedings.

Q: Do I Need a Lawyer for Divorce Mediation?

A: Technically, divorce mediation does not require legal representation. However, it is always best to have a legal representative on your side throughout divorce mediation to ensure you reach a fair and reasonable outcome. You cannot rely on the mediator to provide any legal advice; they are not permitted to provide legal counsel to either or your spouse.

Q: What Does the Mediator Do?

A: The mediator’s job is to facilitate constructive negotiations between the divorcing spouses, keep conversations focused, and ultimately help the divorcing couple draft their divorce agreement. The mediator will clarify legal statutes that come into play and conduct one-on-one sessions with each divorcing spouse and their respective attorney.

Q: What Happens If My Spouse Is Difficult About Mediation?

A: Mediation requires the willing participation of both spouses to work. If your spouse is entirely unwilling to compromise or demands to go to trial, mediation may not be an option. If you find negotiations difficult, you and your spouse may choose to negotiate through your respective attorneys. The attorneys will relay your communications back and forth, so the two of you do not need to interact with one another directly.

Q: What Happens If Divorce Mediation Doesn’t Work?

A: It may not be possible for you and your spouse to cover every issue your divorce entails through mediation. It is also possible that your negotiations may break down for several reasons before you achieve a mutually agreeable divorce settlement. If divorce mediation does not work, your case will need to move to litigation. However, it is possible to handle some of your divorce-related issues in mediation before going to court. You and your spouse should consider this if you have trouble reaching agreeable terms on some aspects of your divorce but agree on others. You can effectively use divorce mediation to settle as much of your divorce as possible before moving to litigation to minimize the time you must spend in court.

Q: Can We Negotiate Child Custody in Mediation?

A: Mediation can allow you and your spouse to reach personalized agreements on property division, alimony, and most of the financial issues that your divorce entails. You cannot, however, reach any firm agreements on child custody or child support. Oklahoma state law requires a family court judge to review and approve any parenting plan involved in a divorce to ensure it suits the child’s best interests. You and your spouse can create a proposal for a parenting plan in mediation and then submit it to an Oklahoma City, OK, family court judge for review.

Q: What Happens If I Find Out My Ex Lied During Mediation?

A: In the event that you discover information that should have been reviewed during mediation after you already have a divorce order, you need to inform your attorney right away. Depending on the nature of the information, you may have grounds to petition for modification of your divorce order and bring the newly discovered information to light. For example, you may discover your ex hid assets that, if known, would have led to a higher alimony amount for you in the divorce order. Bringing this information to the attention of the Oklahoma City, OK, family court can potentially rectify the matter.

Ultimately, divorce mediation offers the most streamlined path to resolving your divorce. If you are unsure whether this process would be right for you, it is vital to consult your Oklahoma City divorce attorney as soon as possible, so you know what you can expect from the situation. Consult an Oklahoma City, OK, family law attorney once you have decided to end your marriage to learn more about how mediation can benefit your unique situation.