Amicable Divorce: What You Need to Know
An amicable divorce can involve agreement regarding many things including, but not restricted to, child support, spousal or marital support, visitation, and/or property division. Once agreement has been reached on key divorce terms, the couple will file divorce documents in family court for an actual divorce. Although not required, a divorce lawyer is advisable to protect the interests of his or her client. This is especially true when there are significant financial aspects involved that may affect divorce settlements. In addition, divorce mediators can offer a neutral third party impartial opinion as to what terms should be sought in a divorce settlement.
When choosing a divorce mediator or attorney, it is important to select someone with extensive experience in this area. It is also important to keep in mind that each divorce mediation or attorney has their own method of operation. It is also helpful to hire an attorney who is willing to communicate clearly with one’s spouse, particularly when one’s attorney may be dealing with highly sensitive information. As much as possible, you want to ensure your divorce mediator or attorney has the skills needed to get the best results for both sides. Your divorce attorney should make every effort to ensure that you have a good experience with the divorce mediator or attorney under consideration.
The process of divorce mediation often begins with the filing of a divorce petition by one party. A divorce attorney then serves this petition on the opposing party. In some instances, the party filing the divorce petition may have to appear in person in a family court before a judge, which further secures the divorce mediation. In other instances, a divorce mediation may be accomplished electronically. Regardless of which method is utilized, once the divorce petition is filed in a local court, a divorce mediator may begin working on the situation.
During the actual mediation process, both parties will meet with the divorce mediator. Depending on the nature of the case, questions regarding child custody and alimony may be brought up. The divorce attorney for one party will represent the interest of his/her client and provide answers to those questions. Conversely, the divorce attorney for the other party will provide answers to those questions pertaining to his/her client. At this point, both parties will discuss any items they wish to discuss in a formal meeting with the divorce mediator. This meeting is known as the “point meeting” where the parties negotiate any issues they have about the divorce, which will end up being a signed divorce agreement.
The divorce mediation process typically takes place in a court house, either the county courthouse or the state or county’s courthouse. Once the parties have met with the divorce mediator, the divorce attorney will review the written agreement. If the written agreement requires changes to be made, the attorney for one party will file those changes with the court. Once the final documents are filed, the divorce is now complete.
Because the amicable divorce involves both parties voluntarily submitting written documents to the court, the spouses may come to an agreement regarding child custody and/or spousal support during the divorce process. If the spouse requesting the divorce has children, they may negotiate child support or spousal support during or after the final paperwork is filed. In some instances, the spouse requesting the divorce may also request that the court order a prenuptial agreement so he/she can establish paternity. If these issues are settled between the spouses prior to the divorce, they will prevent the possibility of a prolonged litigation process during the course of the divorce that is detrimental to one party or the other. The process of an amicable divorce can also help to ensure the fairest outcome in any litigation, including child support or spousal support.
Because it is the spouses who choose to seek an amicable divorce, it is crucial that they select a qualified divorce mediator. Many divorce mediators specialize in divorce or have experience in working with divorcing couples. If the spouses have a good relationship with their divorce mediator, it will ease the stress that is often associated with divorce.
Even if the parties come to an agreement about all matters relating to the divorce, they will still need to hire an attorney who will represent them in the courtroom and the negotiation process. A good divorce lawyer will make sure that all of the divorce papers are completely filled out and will assist the spouse seeking the divorce in selecting an attorney. A divorce mediator may offer suggestions regarding which type of divorce is most beneficial for each party. It’s important to choose an attorney who has experience dealing with issues similar to the ones you are dealing with. Your attorney will be familiar with the local divorce laws and procedures and will know when it is best to use the court system and when it is better to use the more flexible options offered through divorce mediation. A divorce mediator will also be able to provide information about what other options may be available to you.