Courts often order mediation when couples or parents have disputes over child custody, financial matters, or any other issue. Alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation allow the couple to resolve their issues with the aid of a neutral third party.
A Junction City mediation lawyer could represent a party’s interest during a mediation session. Although the mediator might be a lawyer, they cannot offer legal advice, so having an experienced divorce attorney present to provide guidance is critical.
How Mediation Works
A mediator is a specially trained professional, usually a lawyer, who guides negotiations between disputing parties. A mediator can keep the conversation focused and productive and help the parties find areas of common ground.
Mediation is beneficial in family disputes for several reasons. It is less expensive and quicker than litigating a divorce dispute at a trial. Mediation is confidential, so it will not become a matter of public record, as a divorce trial might. Most importantly, mediation keeps control in the hands of the disputants.
Mediators do not offer solutions or suggest remedies. Instead, they guide the disputants toward areas of agreement and help them find solutions that will work in their specific circumstances. A capable Junction City mediation attorney could be available to offer legal advice and help the parties document their agreement.
Mediation Before Filing for Divorce
When a couple agrees about all aspects of a divorce—child custody, child support, property division, and alimony—they could file for an uncontested divorce. The couple must file their agreements with their petition for divorce. An uncontested divorce is faster and less expensive than going to court.
A couple that is not on the same page on every issue could engage in mediation before filing a divorce petition in hopes of seeking an uncontested divorce. Many couples find that working with a mediator helps them narrow and resolve their points of disagreement. If the mediation succeeds, a seasoned lawyer in Junction City could formalize the couple’s agreements and submit them to the court with the divorce petition.
If mediation is unsuccessful, the couple could file for a contested divorce and continue negotiating. If the negotiations are not fruitful, the court might send the couple back to mediation before scheduling a trial. Courts try to give couples every opportunity to resolve their differences on their terms rather than force a judge to decide these very personal issues.
Other Forms of Alternative Dispute Resolution
Mediation is the most widely used dispute resolution process in the family court arena. However, there are other ways of keeping disputes out of court that could be appropriate or more effective in a specific case.
Arbitration is common in the business context, but it is sometimes effective in family disputes. The arbitrator holds an informal hearing where each party, represented by an attorney, presents their side of the dispute. The parties agree that the arbitrator may decide on the unresolved issues and that they will abide by the arbitrator’s decision. The process is faster and less formal than a litigated divorce, but the couple leaves decision-making in the hands of a third party.
Domestic conciliation is a procedure authorized under Kansas Rule 908. It is similar to mediation in that the parties meet with the conciliator to resolve their issues. If they do not reach agreement the conciliator could—if the court requests—report on the process to the court with the conciliator’s recommendations. It is important to note that conciliation is not always confidential.
Work With a Skilled Junction City Mediation Attorney
Mediation is often quite helpful if you and your spouse or co-parent cannot agree on an issue relating to your children or your divorce. Even couples who normally have trouble communicating find that working with a mediator can be productive.
However, mediators cannot offer legal advice so it is important to have a legal representative you can turn to for counsel. A Junction City mediation lawyer is happy to guide you throughout the mediation and formalize any agreements you and your spouse reach into documents you could submit to the court. Call today to speak with a well-practiced attorney.