A mediated divorce can work for several different types of divorce situations, including uncontested divorces, contested divorces, couples who are representing themselves, and couples who are being represented by attorneys. These various situations are all a little bit different, and are described below.
Many people think an uncontested divorce means that both of the spouses want to get divorced. However, it’s not that simple. An uncontested divorce means that the couple has agreed upon everything you have to decide when you get divorced. This includes the division of property and assets, child custody, child support, and alimony. A couple in an uncontested divorce can write a complete Settlement Agreement detailing how they plan to handle each of these issues, and they are in total agreement on the arrangements they have made.
On the other hand, a contested divorce is when the two parties disagree on aspects of the divorce and are unable to come to an agreement. In a contested divorce, unless the spouses can come to an agreement, it can end up in a trial where either a judge or a jury will decide the aspects of the divorce.
Self representation is simply handling all of the divorce process without a lawyer. You can represent yourself in either an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce. However, both types of divorces can have legal consequences if handled improperly. For this reason, most experts will advise that you at least speak with an attorney to get some questions answered, or have an attorney review your final paperwork.
Attorney representation is when one or both of the spouses has an attorney who is representing them, and is there to negotiate in his or her client’s best interest. Attorneys will often accompany clients to mediation sessions, in order to make sure that their clients are able to obtain the best outcome possible from the mediation. On the other hand, at times, clients choose to attend mediation sessions alone and to just consult with their attorney as needed during the mediation.
The Mediated Divorce
Mediation is there as an option to get couples to a point where they can agree on the issues involved in divorce, including child custody, child support, alimony, and the equitable division of property. It is appropriate to go to mediation at several different times during the divorce process. Some people come in at the beginning when they are just starting to try to decide how to divide things up, while others come in after they have been working with attorneys for quite awhile and they are looking for a faster and more cost-effective way to settle the issues that they still disagree about.