Divorcing couples in Arizona may opt to participate in mediation as an alternative or supplement to litigating their case in court. Many courts encourage the use of mediation; if you have children, a Family Court judge is likely to order you to mediate some or all parenting issues.
During mediation, a trained mediator facilitates discussion of disputed issues with the aim of achieving an agreement. While a mediator may explain some general concepts or rules, he or she may not give legal advice. For this reason, many people prefer to attend mediation sessions with their own attorneys.
Benefits of mediation
Parties may choose mediation because it is often more cost-effective and less time-consuming than a court battle. The low-key setting and greater flexibility can also tone down emotions and decrease the level of confrontation, making it easier for divorcing couples to compromise and agree. Mediation can also give the parties more control over the final outcome than litigation, which involves many formal rules.
Handling complicated problems
If your divorce involves complex issues, you may prefer to seek out a mediator with experience in areas such as business and real estate. In some cases, you may want to mediate some issues and litigate others. You can benefit from mediation even if you have difficulty communicating with your soon-to-be ex.
When mediation may not work
On the other hand, sometimes mediation may not serve your needs, or you may have to turn to the court as certain issues arise. Notably, mediations do not require the parties to bring in evidence or documents, as this is a way for parties to compromise, not to prove their respective positions. Mediators also lack the authority to issue legally binding orders for anyone to do anything. For this reason, mediation may not successfully address situations involving fraud, abuse or manipulation.
If you are beginning the divorce process, enlisting the help of an experienced attorney can help you navigate it successfully. Your lawyer can advise you as to the best strategy to adopt and aid you in making informed decisions that are right for you.