The Law in Divorce Mediation
What are my rights? The is often the first question clients ask when faced with divorce or custody issue. The question is an important one, because it gets to the heart of every litigated divorce case: the law. People are seeking guidance on how to get from Point A (living as an unhappily married person), to Point B (living as a person free of the marriage). But to get there, what do you have to do to protect yourself from the claims of the other person? What do you have to give up? What can you get back? What obligations will you have after divorce?
In a litigated divorce, the law holds significant power over your case. The attorneys and the judge are very knowledgeable of the statutes and court decisions that might apply to your particular circumstances. The attorneys are adversaries, and try to ‘win’ by trying to persuade the judge to rule in their client’s favor by creatively making arguments that are based upon the law. And the judge is only allowed to render a decision that is based upon the law; to do otherwise could result in the decision being reversed and criticized on appeal.
In mediation, however, the law’s power is neutralized because the divorce is not before the court; the couple keeps it to themselves. They share the decision-making ability, and the law becomes nothing more than a guide. While facilitating negotiations between you, your mediator will help you understand the law as much as you need so that your decisions and agreements will satisfy the court’s review when it comes time to submit your divorce agreement for judgment. Otherwise you are free to be as creative in your solutions and decisions as you like.
The law need not be this intimidating force that is hovering over your case. Mediation offers you the advantage of having the ability to use the law to your mutual advantage. If you have questions about mediating your divorce, please contact us for a consultation.