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How Does Mediation Work in Missouri?

According to the definition from the Missouri Supreme Court, mediation is “a process in which a neutral third party facilitates communications between the parties to promote settlement.” Essentially, it is a way to help improve communication between parties, so they can more easily resolve the issues causing conflict.

Mediation is used in a wide range of areas. There are mediation options for businesses, landlords and tenants, staff and students, and even workplace mediation. One of the areas where it is often used with great success is in the realm of family law, particularly with divorce, custody, and support. The process can help to resolve some or all of the issues when trying to settle.

What Does a Mediator Do in Missouri?

The mediator is a trained professional that helps both parties discuss their interests, concerns, and needs in a setting without fear of conflict. They will first establish the ground rules for discussion between the parties and will help them to better express their feelings and ideas about the various conflicts.

The mediators try to keep both parties focused on the big picture of resolving outstanding issues. They ask questions, present ideas, and help you and your spouse to focus on finding ways to move forward. It often requires some give and takes to reach agreements that work well for both of you, but when both parties are invested in making the most of it, mediation can be very helpful.

It is also important to understand what a mediator does not do. They do not take sides, they don’t blame either of the parties, and they don’t determine who is “right” in any situation. The mediators also do not provide legal advice or counsel, even though they may be attorneys or judges themselves. They will not make decisions for the parties. They could, however, provide guidance on how to better communicate, which will help the process move forward.

How to Request Mediation During a Divorce in Missouri

Getting mediation to help with the conflicts in your divorce can vary from one jurisdiction to another in Missouri.

In some cases, the court will not be involved at all. Instead, you and your spouse would need to find and hire a mediator to begin the process of working through your various conflicts to reach as many agreements as possible before proceeding with the rest of the divorce. Of course, your spouse has to agree to mediation. Unless it is required by the court, as noted below, they cannot be forced to work with a mediator. Additionally, just because your spouse agrees to mediation does not mean they will agree to any of the terms being discussed.

In other locations in the state, however, the court may offer free mediation services. These will typically require a referral from the court, so you will want to speak with your attorney about how to get the referral.

You may not need to request mediation, as some judges will require that you go through mediation before they set a trial date for the divorce. This is because mediation can help to resolve a host of conflicts between parties before going to court, which will speed up the process of divorce. It may even be possible to handle all of the outstanding conflicts before going further with the divorce, so you don’t have to worry about a long and expensive trial.

Benefits of Going Through Mediation in Missouri

Mediation can help you and your spouse to have more control over what happens with your divorce and all of your disputes. Compare this to a typical divorce trial that has to go through the court to resolve issues. You and your spouse no longer have the final say on issues where you are still at odds. Instead, the judge will determine what happens with the case. Many times, neither party is happy with the results. Working through mediation helps you retain that control.

You can work in a private setting where all of the information is confidential. Unlike divorce, mediation keeps everything outside the public eye. There is often embarrassing information that comes out during divorces. If the trial is public, anyone can obtain that info.

One of the other fantastic reasons to consider mediation is the cost. Whether you hire the mediator or it is provided free through the court, you will find that it’s cheaper than a drawn-out divorce. You will have to pay fewer legal fees since much of the work is done with the mediator. Additionally, you will save a lot of time. A trial could last for weeks, months, or longer. Most people don’t have that much time to devote without it negatively impacting their lives.

Mediation has a lot of benefits and can be started at any point before litigation in court begins. It’s well worth considering for most couples with outstanding conflicts regarding their divorce.

If you are in need of divorce mediation, it is time to get in touch with an experienced professional. Contact the J. Rench Law Firm, LLC at (314) 725-4000 today to schedule a consultation and learn more.

Related Content: How do I Request a Mediation in Missouri?



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