Divorce Mediation, What is It?
Divorce mediation is where a 3rd party neutral, called a mediator, sets between the divorcing couple to iron out all the necessary conditions the couple needs to finalize a divorce. This allows the couple to remain in control of their life decisions without the need of a judge to forcibly order their life decisions.
All divorces must be signed off by a judge to be legal. By using a mediator, the judge is not having to display your entire life out in front of strangers and publicly post everything on the internet. Your discussions, negotiations and personal information is private and confidential.
What can We Decide using a Divorce Mediator?
Quality credentialed mediators can help you explore options and decisions on anything you need, or the judge would require to be settled.
- Division of assets
- everything from houses to furniture
- Division of Debt
- everything from mortgages to credit cards
- Separation of bank and retirement accounts
- bank, 401k, IRA, etc.
- Spousal Support
If you have minor children
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Better then Visitation
- Child Tax Credits
And anything else either one wants or needs Including:
- Division of a business or valuations
- Payouts or Buyouts
- Private School, Homeschool or College Funds
- Heritage or Legacy Teaching
- Special Needs for Children, etc.
When did Divorce Mediation Start?
Oklahoma enacted the Dispute Resolution Act, (12 OS 1801-1850), back in 1983; as an alternative to court fighting which would be Fair, Equitable, Inexpensive and Expeditious. This was also intended to reduce the burden on the over crowded court system, to save the taxpayers money from expanding buildings, hiring more judges, lower Sheriff’s duties, decrease DHS involvement, and many more State benefits.
Difference Between a Mediator and Attorney?
An attorney is there to represent your rights and interests and representation in front of a judge, but they cannot represent both of you as you’re on opposite sides of the fight. This is a conflict of interest and a breach of legal ethics.
Mediators are neutral and do not represent either one of you. As a neutral, mediators cannot give legal advice (even if they are an attorney), represent you in court or make decisions for you. You make your own decisions while the mediator walks you through your thought process.
Where can a Divorce Mediation be Held?
We hold our mediations in conference rooms where we have access to drinks and snacks, comfortable chairs, good lighting, digital displays (if needed), climate controls and a relaxed atmosphere. Mediation is not a boxing ring like the courthouse, it is assisted negotiations to help you think calmly and clearly.
Is Divorce Mediation Legally Binding?
Yes, once the mediation is concluded; the mediator will write the agreement then have a notary come in to notarize everything and provide you an MOU or the paperwork for court.
You can submit the court paperwork yourself.
Please note: We do not charge for the paperwork and as we are not your attorney; we do not guarantee the paperwork. Occasionally even attorneys get paperwork rejected based upon the judge’s desire to have things a certain way. We will do our best to meet all judicial requirements and will happily make any changes requested.
An MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for you to provide to an attorney or paralegal who will put everything into the court required format for them or you to submit to the court.
You can obtain your own paperwork from many sources whether it be copies from an attorney, internet form or paralegal copy from a law library. Then you can edit your paperwork to input your information to submit to the court yourself.
What if We Cannot Decide Everything?
That’s the GREAT thing about mediation, it’s not a “Take It or Leave It” meeting.
Sometimes an offer is a good deal or bad deal but you’re unsure. We can agree to postpone for you to think it over, get legal advice, consult an appraiser, hire an accountant, or whatever you need to proceed. Always remember time is of the essence (of great importance) so you want to move as-fast-as possible. Then:
- We can hold another mediation -or-
- We can make a partial agreement and you can:
Have the judge decide the remaining requirements.
Apply to an arbitrator who will make a final decision of the remaining requirements
What if There are Specific Questions like Child Support?
As a neutral, ethically, we cannot answer legal questions. We do provide a Divorce Resource Page where you can find information to help you make your own decisions or you can contact an attorney.
During a mediation, if you wish to take a break to call your legal counsel that is completely fine. We will find you a private place or you can step outside to call.
You may bring your attorney to the mediation with you, if you so desire. Just let the mediator know in advance so we check for conflicts of interest to avoid any delays. A mediator cannot mediate a case where the mediator's family member or close friend is the attorney, we must remain impartial.