Just as every marriage is unique, so is each divorce proceeding. The process of a divorce depends on state laws. The complexity and length of the divorce proceeding depend on the couple, their assets, and how amicable the divorce has been.
What is Divorce Mediation?
A divorce mediator acts as a third-party negotiator. They are neutral, meaning that they do not represent one individual over the other. They often have special training in techniques that can help you and your spouse work through the divorce proceeding more efficiently. Divorce mediators also often have creative solutions to problems that you and your spouse might have not yet considered.
Most couples, regardless of how amicable the decision of divorce is, will have some disagreements during the process. That is because tensions are often high and it is not easy to divide everything that you have built together during your entire marriage. This is where divorce mediation comes in.
A divorce mediator is not a marriage counselor. They will never encourage you to discuss your reasons for divorce. Instead, they are focused on coming to a solution that everyone can agree with.
Should I Hire a Divorce Mediator in Indiana?
If you are considering divorce or are struggling to come to an agreement after making the decision to divorce in the state of Indiana, then a divorce mediator may be a good decision. These are just a few of the benefits of working with a divorce mediator:
- Speed up the process: Disagreements can slow down the divorce proceeding. Divorce mediators utilize proven methods that can help negotiations and speed up the divorce process.
- Cut costs: By reducing the time spent negotiating an agreement and actual time in court, you can also cut down on your legal costs.
- They do not provide a ruling: A mediator’s main goal is to encourage both parties’ to come to an agreement. They do not provide a ruling, as a judge would do.
- Confidential: Your divorce mediator upholds the same confidentiality agreements that you would get when working with a divorce lawyer.
- You can hire your own representation: Because a divorce mediator acts as a third-party, you can still hire your own divorce lawyer if you prefer to.
Additionally, many couples choose divorce mediation because it offers a degree of flexibility that you don’t often get when dealing with the local courts. Court dates and judge rulings are finalized, whereas working with a divorce mediator does not bind you to anything unless you come to a mutual agreement. A divorce mediator will work around both spouse’s schedules, sometimes even offering phone consultations or virtual meetings if needed.
Divorce mediation can also help you and your spouse improve your lines of communication. This can translate out of the courtroom and can help with managing dual-custody child agreements, or any other issues that arise during the divorce.
Does Indiana Require That I See a Divorce Mediator?
Indiana state law requires that individuals attempt mediation before a hearing. In some counties, if a divorce case will take longer than two hours in court, the couple must attend mediation. Lake County, Indiana, residents are not required to come to a mediated agreement. However, it can be useful in doing so. Other areas in Indiana do require mediation, so it depends on your location and where you file for divorce.
If you and your spouse are unable to come to mutual agreements throughout the divorce proceedings, it is possible that the judge will order that you work with a divorce mediator.
What Types of Issues Can be Negotiated During Mediation?
Many people do not realize how many separate issues need to be discussed when contemplating divorce. One of the biggest advantages of working with a divorce mediator is the opportunity to consider all aspects of the divorce. This gives you and your spouse time to consider what assets are important to you, and which you are more willing to negotiate on.
Just a few issues that you and your divorce mediator may discuss include:
- Child custody and support
- Alimony payments
- Shared property
- Shared debts
- Visitation rights
- Business ownership
- Retirement accounts
Considering each point will help to speed up the divorce process and reduce the chances of any disagreements or roadblocks down the road.
What Can I Expect During Mediation?
You might wonder what you can expect during mediation. The process differs, depending on your divorce and the individual needs of you and your spouse. However, it often includes the following steps:
- Initial consultation: You and your spouse will need to choose a divorce mediator that you both agree to work with.
- Initial discussion: Once you have agreed on a mediator, you and your spouse will have an initial discussion, separately.
- First meeting: During the first meeting, your divorce mediator will explain what to expect and how the process should work. This is done to manage expectations and set guidelines that can help move the negotiations along in an effective manner.
- Evaluate agreements/disagreements: Understanding which issues you and your spouse agree/disagree on is an important starting point.
- Discuss each issue separately: Your mediator will bring up each issue separately, giving it the appropriate amount of time to discuss. Your negotiator will ensure that you stay on topic and that you communicate in a way that is effective.
- Draft an agreement: If you and your spouse are able to come to an agreement, either your negotiator or lawyer will draft a contract for you and them to sign.
Disagreements are common during a divorce, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to come to an agreement that works for everyone. A divorce mediator in Indiana can help you and your spouse negotiate a divorce agreement that meets everyone’s needs, while also ensuring the process is as timely and convenient as possible.