Is mediation right for you? A guide to uncontested (and sometimes contested) divorce
The short answer to this question is probably.
To understand why mediation is probably a good decision for you, let's look at what exactly mediation is. Mediation, the way The Garrett Law Firm practices, is essentially just facilitated communication between you and the other party. We have the experience as a divorce lawyer to give the two of you legal information (never legal advice) to guide you both through the divorce process from the petition to the marital settlement agreement, parenting plan, and judgment.
By going through mediation instead of litigating your case in court, you accomplish several things:
1. You save money. Even contested divorces are usually much cheaper to finish through mediation than through a court.
2. You save heartache. Divorce is never easy, but spending thousands of dollars, hearing the nasty things your spouse says about you in a courtroom full of people, and having a judge decide your case based on the tiny amount of information they are given in your trial means nobody wins. Through mediation, both sides are given their chance to be heard and then actively work together through the mediator to finish the divorce. By collaborating, even if you are never in the same room, both of you are more likely to come away from the process feeling better than in an adversarial setting.
3. It is fast. It takes at least 30 days to get divorced in Missouri, but will probably take much longer if you go to court. Both attorneys have to manage their schedules with their clients, with each other, and worst of all, with the Judge. Some courtrooms in Taney, Stone, and Christian County will give you a court date six months or more from the time you request a trial. Add to that, if something comes up for any of the people involved, your date can get scrapped and you get back in line for another date, also months away. With mediation, you do not have to wait. With everything agreed on, your petition gets filed and on day 31 or soon thereafter, your Marital Settlement Agreement, Parenting Plan, Affidavit for Judgment, and Judgment all get filed with the court, meaning no court appearances and no waiting on the other parties to coordinate their schedules.
4. It is predictable. I like the judges in this area, but you never know what is going to happen when you go to trial. Every trial is rolling the dice. Your attorney might be having a bad day, opposing counsel may be on a hot streak, the judge may be sick, who knows? In mediation, we take out most of those variables. We lay out each parties' goals, and then figure out how to accomplish them with what we are given.
5. It is voluntary. If mediation doesn't work out, then don't despair. Nothing in mediation is binding. It only becomes binding when we submit the final judgment and the Judge signs it. If things aren't going your way or you feel that mediation is not working, then leave and go to court. (I do ask that you spend at least two hours on it though, there are few problems we can't work through)
If you think that mediation may be right for you, give The Garrett Law Firm a call today at 417-334-6316 and set up a consultation. We handle uncontested and contested dissolution, modifications, paternity, and more.