Divorce mediation helps couples end their marriage as amicably as they are able. A mediated agreement between the parties divides property, establishes certain types of payments, and can determine child custody and visitation. In cases where a couple cannot come to an agreement regarding key aspects of divorce, such as child custody or the division of property, the court is likely to order mediation so that a resolution can be reached.
While you are certainly free to attempt mediation on your own, it is advisable to have an attorney experienced in family law help manage your case. Your attorney can help you understand New Mexico divorce law, identify your goals, document the needed provings for key areas, and prepare for likely objections your spouse (or their attorney) may present.
At New Mexico Financial & Family Law, we know that it takes legal knowledge to successfully mediate a divorce. As an objective third party, we look out for the best interest of our client while attempting to ensure the process is non-confrontational and non-adversarial. We have access to financial experts, medical professionals, and others who can provide us with the necessary information to ensure the outcome of mediation is fair and equitable for our clients.
We are dedicated to making the process of ending your marriage easier for you. While nothing can take the sting out of a divorce, mediation can make it all less emotional. When you choose mediation, you avoid a trial and walk away with the same result — a new beginning. Call our office at 505-503-1637 or contact us online to schedule a risk-free consultation. We are here to help you. In the meantime, let’s take a closer look at divorce mediation in our state.
The Mediation Process
Every mediation is as unique as the people undertaking it. That said, there is a timeline that is generally followed.
- Consultation: You will speak to a family law attorney. You and the attorney will discuss what you hope to achieve by the end of the mediation. Once you decide to hire an attorney, the next step begins.
- Discovery: The splitting of a couple requires more information than most consider. Your attorney will begin to gather the documents they know are necessary for successful divorce mediation. The documentation is reviewed and shared with the opposing counsel and the mediator.
- Document Review: Your attorney will receive documents from opposing counsel. More complex documents may be reviewed by experts in their specific fields. For example, a forensic CPA may scour over tax return documents and bank statements. This is not always necessary but, in some cases, can help to uncover what the opposing party is trying to hide.
- Meetings: Once all documents are received and reviewed, your attorney will draft a mediation agreement, as will opposing counsel. Typically, mediation involves two or three meetings before parties reach an agreement and a final settlement is drafted. This final document may be in the form of an agreement or a proposed court order.
You can expect to speak with your attorney privately several times during the divorce mediation. You may also find that there are additional steps unique to your situation. Be sure to ask your attorney any of the questions you have in order to make yourself comfortable with the process. The more knowledgeable you are, the less stress and anxiety you will feel.
Divorce Mediation Vs. Divorce Court
We are often asked by potential clients why they should try divorce mediation as a first step to ending their marriage. You may be wondering the same thing. Here are several reasons that it makes sense to attempt mediation:
Divorce mediation and a litigated divorce often involve the same sets of issues and negotiations. The truth is, even though the issues may be the same, the cost is not. It is much more expensive to prepare for trial than it is to prepare for mediation. When you choose mediation, you do not absorb the cost of a trial. You also hasten the timeline needed for your case to work through the courts, saving additional expenses for everyone involved.
No matter how we try to shield children from the emotional turmoil that divorce brings, they pick up on the tension. The knowledge that their parents will no longer be together is difficult enough without being drawn into a court battle. Divorce can be less stressful for children when they see their parents working together for a positive outcome.
Opposing parties in a divorce proceeding often make maneuvers that can cause delays. Strategically, this makes sense. For you, however, it lengthens the process and makes it more difficult. Settlements are often reached more quickly when the couple cooperates with one another. A divorce that may take years in court may only take months in a mediation.
The ending of a marriage is rarely pretty. People are angry, hurt, and confused. You just want to be heard and have your feelings acknowledged. This is often not possible in the court process. On the other hand, mediation can allow you a space to get what you need off your chest — with your attorney’s guidance — and move on. The attorneys involved in the process will help you acknowledge your feelings, but will not let the meetings be controlled by emotion.
Couples are encouraged to cooperate during divorce mediation in order to ensure a fair outcome. This makes the process a more positive one in general. Rather than act as opponents in a ring, the parties act as partners in the process of ending the relationship.
Before a couple can engage in trial litigation or request an arbitrated ruling from a family law judge, they will be ordered to undergo mediation in an attempt to come to a resolution.
Mediation May Not Work
Despite the efforts of all parties involved, divorce mediation may not work. You may become dissatisfied at any point in the process. If you do, you still have the right to go to court. Attempting mediation does not mean that you cannot take your case to trial. It only means that you are attempting an alternative method as the first means of resolution.
We Are Your Advocate
Our team at New Mexico Financial & Family Law is here to make sure your rights and needs are protected. We want to help you end your marriage with dignity and assist you in approaching your future in a positive way. Divorce mediation is an alternative to the court process and is available to you. Call our office at (505) 503-1637 or contact us online to learn more about how we can assist you.