From a personal standpoint, a mediation lawyer is often preferred by parties who want to avoid the stress of a contested hearing. Plus, there are some advantages that are tangible and impactful for your future.
An important benefit that carries across the proceedings is that the parties maintain control over the divorce process. In mediation, you are not confined by the strict statutes and rules that apply when a judge must make a determination.
With help from a Missouri divorce mediation lawyer, you can also leverage additional benefits:
- When you have control over the process, you and your spouse can craft solutions that work for your unique circumstances.
- There is a significant amount of risk involved with going to court, as a judge may decide divorce-related disputes in ways you did not expect.
- Mediation is less formal than litigation and can often be completed in a day, so there is a faster time to resolution on your divorce case.
- The mediator does not make decisions, and mediation is not binding on the parties. If you do not agree in some areas, you can still go to court.
- The conversations that take place during mediation are confidential, so they cannot be used if the parties do need to hold a contested hearing.
Comparing Fees and Costs in St. Louis
Because the process is relaxed and informal, mediation also offers the benefit of reduced costs when compared to a contested hearing. When you go to court on property division, alimony, or issues related to minor children, you are a party in an official trial. There are numerous tasks involved with litigation, including discovery, depositions, motions, and court appearances. At the hearing, each party will have the opportunity to introduce evidence, produce testimony, and cross-examine witnesses to support their position. The costs of preparing for trial are considerable.
Mediation involves some structure, but there are not the same formalities and tasks as compared to a trial. The parties work through their disputes by productive conversations, instead of an adversarial proceeding governed by strict rules on evidence and procedure. Parties do not testify or introduce exhibits, so the time and cost of preparing for mediation is greatly reduced.
How Mediation Ends in St. Louis
Ideally, the mediation process concludes when the parties compromise on all divorce-related disputes. The reality is that the parties may not be able to work out solutions for every disagreement. Mediation ends when the conversation has stagnated and the parties stand firm on their positions. The mediator’s efforts will not get them closer, making it futile to continue.
With help from counsel, the parties will sign an agreement on the issues they are able to resolve by the end of mediation. The terms are included in the final divorce decree, which is a binding court order. You have legal recourse if you need to enforce it due to a violation by your ex, but you must also comply with all requirements.
If one or more disputes remain after going through mediation, these issues will be scheduled for a contested hearing. As such, your final divorce decree could be a combination of an agreement between the parties and findings by a judge.
Why You Need a Mediation Lawyer for Help with Divorce Mediation in St. Louis
It is helpful to think of mediation as a structured conversation between divorcing spouses, but the lack of formalities should not make you think legal representation is unnecessary. You have important rights to protect, and you might harm them by giving up too much just to obtain a favorable outcome. In addition, you will be signing a legally enforceable document in the areas where you agree. With agreements arrived at through divorce mediation, your obligations could continue for years.
Retaining counsel is essential for protecting your interests and getting the most out of the benefits that the process offers. You can trust a St. Louis mediation attorney for assistance with:
- Collecting and reviewing all evidence on topics to be discussed during mediation;
- Drafting a mediation brief containing the relevant facts and proposed solutions;
- Preparing you for mediation, including consultations, answering questions, and addressing concerns;
- Advocating on your behalf during the mediation process, including consulting with you so that you can make informed decisions on divorce-related topics;
- Reviewing the parties’ agreement to ensure it aligns with mediation discussions; and,
- Entering an order in court to reflect the mediation agreement.
Set Up a Consultation with a Missouri Mediation Lawyer Today
There are many additional reasons to retain legal counsel when going through divorce mediation, but the primary goal is the protection of your rights. Our team at St. Louis Divorce & Mediation has extensive experience representing clients during the process, so we are ready to serve your needs. Please contact us to speak to a skilled divorce mediation attorney. You can also book a consultation online. After reviewing your situation, we can explain what to expect with mediation in a divorce or family law case.
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