Divorce is never easy, but mediation can help make the process less painful, more collaborative, and allows both parties to reach a settlement in private, confidential settings.
The experienced divorce mediators at BTL family law have over 30 years of experience helping couples resolve their divorce issues. Our team has an intimate knowledge of Arizona law and understands how to get you through this trying process.
Mediation works when both parties are prepared to resolve their issues by negotiating a divorce settlement with the help of a neutral mediator. If you and your spouse are ready to try mediation, contact our law offices today to schedule a consultation to learn more.
Steps to Divorce Through Mediation
Both Parties Submit Agreement to Mediate
Both Parties Submit Their Individual Confidential Mediation Proposals
Attend Mediation and Sign Agreements Reached at Mediation
Draft Agreements in a Form Acceptable for Submission to the Court
Sign Final Documents and Submit to Court
Court Reviews and Enters Suitable Final Documents as Final Court Orders
Why Choose Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is a useful tool to resolve a family law dispute. It allows parties to reach an agreement on their terms and forego the expense and stress of a trial.
Attending hearings and going to trial can be costly, stressful, and intimidating. If your case goes to trial, you are leaving your life in the hands of the Judge. The Judge could decide against your favor on property division, parenting time, spousal support, and more.
In mediation, the parties retain control over their case and can reach agreements that best fit their lives.
What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Divorce Mediation in Arizona?
- Cost-effectiveness. Traditional methods of divorce/legal separation may cost two to ten times more than mediation.
- A neutral party for negotiations. Divorce mediators are neutral third parties who can help ensure civil, collaborative legal decision-making.
- Retain power over the terms of your divorce. The mediator does not have the power to decide the terms of the divorce settlement agreement. You and your spouse have the ultimate say in resolving your case.
- An informal and flexible process. Mediation sessions are scheduled around each spouse’s availability and provide adequate time for dispute resolution.
- A faster process than litigation. Divorce mediation allows a couple to file a Consent Decree, which can be finalized much quicker.
- No need to appear in Court. Most divorcing couples using mediation do not have to appear in family court.
Preparing for Divorce Mediation in Arizona
The divorce mediation process can be straightforward, but it’s still a legal process that requires preparation from you and your spouse. We’ve put together this five-step divorce mediation checklist to help you get started, but you can also follow the steps below.
1. Consider Your Goals for Mediation
Before attending your first mediation session, be sure to write down the most important goals you and your spouse have for divorce mediation, such as a healthy co-parenting plan or fair division of marital property.
This is typically done in individual mediation memorandums. These memorandums are provided confidentially provided to the mediator. The mediator then uses the memos to structure the mediation.
2. Choose the Right Divorce Mediator
You always want a trustworthy mediator to help you through this process. When preparing for mediation, look for a family law or divorce attorney who offers mediation services.
It is in your best interest to choose a divorce lawyer who is knowledgeable in local and state laws regarding matters like child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance. Although they cannot offer legal advice, someone who understands divorce law can propose resolutions to common problems encountered by divorcing parties.
3. Determine How You Will Split Costs for Mediation Services
It’s very common for spouses to split the costs of mediation services equally, but that does not mean that an even split is best for your unique situation. Once you decide on a mediator and have inquired about typical fees, talk with your spouse about how you will divide the cost of mediation.
4. Prepare for Your First Mediation Session
Submit your mediation memorandum on time. Review any information you need before attending mediation. Being organized and knowledgeable for your first mediation session goes a long way to successful mediation.
5. Gather the Appropriate Documentation
Divorce mediation requires the appropriate documentation to corroborate each spouse’s claims. You’ll need a clear picture of your marital community for the most proactive divorce mediation. So it is beneficial to review and sometimes even bring documents and other articles of information to help guide during mediation.
The documents you should gather and review to prepare for mediation include but are not limited to:
- Official court documents, such as copies of your prenuptial or marital contracts.
- Assets and marital property documents, such as shared real estate deeds, current investment statements, and private party value statements for all shared vehicles.
- Personal and shared liabilities, such as current balance statements for all mortgages, home equity loans, motor vehicle loans, student loans, and other private loans.
- Income and tax documents, such as bank account statements, recent pay stubs, W-2 or 1099 agreements, and federal and state tax returns.
- Child-care-related information, such as childcare costs, health insurance costs, and the schedule and location of all current extracurricular activities.
Divorce Mediation FAQs
How long the mediation process can take varies across divorce cases, though most couples can reach a resolution within a full-day session. Each mediation session can vary in duration, from one to two hours for minor disagreements to a full day for more complex issues.
Yes. We separate the parties during mediation. We believe this leads to more productive conversations on resolving the issues as discussions are confidential, and the mediator will not relay what is said to the other party unless authorized.
Yes. We offer both in-person and virtual mediation options. In both cases, the parties will be placed in separate rooms.
It’s rare for divorcing couples who opt for and are successful in mediation to appear in Court. A prominent benefit of divorce mediation is to avoid family court altogether.
If a judge approves your settlement agreement as written in your Consent Decree, you will be officially divorced. In the rare event a judge denies your agreement, you may need to seek advice from an experienced family law attorney to help both guide you procedurally and cure whatever issues the Court had with the agreement.
Ultimately, if you cannot reach a full agreement, you will have to seek Court intervention to resolve any outstanding issues. At mediation, parties can reach both full and partial agreements. Even partial agreements are important because they narrow the issues going forward. If your case does proceed to trial, you will not have to spend money preparing to litigate the agreements you reached in mediation.
Yes. We can help memorialize the agreements and prepare your formal paperwork for the Court.
Our Mediation Team
Our mediators are experienced family law attorneys who understand the attention to detail necessary to avoid future issues.
Bryan K. Levy
By attending mediation parties can save thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees and take control of their case as opposed to letting a judge decide what happens to the most important things in their lives."
Contact us today to schedule mediation and finalize your matter without having to step into a courtroom.