Bobby M. Harges
Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Mediation
Prospective clients are always asking questions about the process of divorce mediation. This essay answers some of the questions that are frequently asked about the process.
Q: I have heard about mediation. What is it?
Mediation has become a popular tool in Louisiana for resolving disputes between individuals, and in families, groups, and organizations. It is a process whereby a neutral third party, the mediator, works with parties to a dispute to assist them in resolving their differences in a way that is agreeable to all parties. The mediation process reduces conflict between parties and helps them to communicate more effectively when they are resolving disputes and when their disputes end. Mediation allows parties to resolve personal and complex issues in private, outside the courtroom environment, without the presence of outsiders who have no interest in the dispute. When compared to litigation, which can be a costly endeavor for the parties, the mediation of disputes between private individuals, members of families, groups, or organizations saves the parties considerable time and money. The mediator is not a judge or arbitrator, but a lawyer who has been specially trained to work with parties who have relationship disputes. Our mediators provide easy solutions to our clients in Gretna, New Orleans and surrounding areas.
Q: Do I need a lawyer during a divorce mediation?
An increasingly large number of parties who are litigating in family courts in Louisiana are using the family or divorce mediation process to resolve their disputes instead of going to court. Many times, these litigants choose not to pay the costs and fees normally associated with retaining an attorney in order to “fight it out” in court. Parties usually decide to handle their issues themselves without direct representation by attorneys or they direct their attorneys to resolve their disputes outside of court in a mediation. As a result, these litigants will usually appear before a private family mediator who will work with the parties to develop a customized agreement that meet their needs. The parties will end the mediation process with a settlement agreement. This agreement can be taken to court and made part of a consent judgment if the parties are in litigation, or
if no lawsuit has been filed, they will sign the agreement which becomes an enforceable agreement.
Q: How do I find a family mediator?
Ask around. Look on the Internet. Most mediators have web sites that explain the types cases they handle and their experience with family mediation. You might want to contact some of your friends who have recently gone through a divorce and ask them if they have any suggestions. You could also call the mediator and ask them about their experience handling divorce and/or family cases, what type of mediation training they took, and the number of years they have been a family mediator.
When you are ready to mediate, you can select a mediator of your own without initially going to court or you can go to court and the judge will appoint a mediator. If you are able to communicate effectively with your spouse or partner, you will often able to meet with a mediator for a few hours and walk away with a settlement agreement that you reach with the other party. Your ability to communicate with the other party will result in savings of hundreds or thousands of dollars and a longer lasting agreement, thus an “easy divorce”. This cooperation is better for the children of your relationship and for you and your spouse or partner.
Q: Can I get a divorce without going to court?
No. To obtain a divorce in Louisiana, you or your spouse must go before a judge who will issue the final divorce order. But all of the other matters related to a divorce or separation can be settled in a family mediation. When the judge grants the divorce order, the judge will also issue a decree or order for matters related to a divorce such as custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, community property allocation, asset distribution, and division of liabilities of the marriage.
Q: Can I mediate my divorce and/or family issues on the Internet?
Yes. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, family lawyers and mediators at Conflict Free Resolutions were holding virtual mediations and virtual meetings on the Internet. With the COVID-19 pandemic, our mediators, arbitrators, and lawyers have now conducted numerous mediations, arbitrations, initial client consultations, subsequent client meetings, and court appearances on the Internet on such platforms such as Zoom, WebEx, Adobe Connect, Skype, Google Meet, Facebook Messenger, Go to Meeting, and
When the COVID-19 pandemic ends, this trend will likely continue. Clients have begun to like the convenience of holding mediations, arbitrations, and court appearances online. Of course, clients will always be free to request an in-person mediation with their mediator or an in-person meeting with their lawyers.
CONTACT US TODAY
If you would like to receive family or civil mediation training, please visit our web site at
www.MediationTrainingCompany.com. Or if you would like to have your disputes mediated by Conflict Free Resolutions or Mediation Training Company, please feel free to contact us today at 504-302-2462 or by email at Mediationtrainingcompany@cox.net.
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