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  • Jul 25th, 2023

    Understanding divorce mediation and when it is right for you

    Divorce, Divorce Mediation, Divorce Preparation, Family Law

    What is a mediated divorce?

    A mediated divorce is when two married individuals agree to a divorce and hire an independent or neutral third party to act as a mediator.

    A mediated divorce is, oftentimes, a much easier and more civil way of filing for divorce.

    Divorce mediation is an alternative form of divorce that does not involve going to court or a judge (until he or she is required to Approve) your agreed-upon terms.

    In other words, a divorce mediation lawyer will work as a neutral party working to help both parties involved in the divorce.

    What is the difference between a divorce mediation and an uncontested divorce?

    An uncontested divorce is where all issues have already been agreed upon, and you are simply hiring an attorney to draft up the agreement. Guidance is given only to the party who actually hired the attorney. A mediated divorce is where both parties have the opportunity to have their questions answered, and not everything needs to be agreed upon prior to mediation.

    Understanding uncontested divorces

    In an uncontested divorce, the couple agrees on all the terms of the divorce, including property division, child custody, and support. They then submit the agreement to the court for approval. This process is typically faster and less expensive than a contested divorce, where the couple cannot reach an agreement and a judge must make decisions on their behalf.

    How a mediated divorce differs from an uncontested divorce

    Mediated divorce, on the other hand, involves a neutral third party, known as a mediator, who helps the couple come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce. The mediator does not make decisions for the couple, but rather guides them through the process of negotiating and reaching an agreement. This can be a good option for couples who are having trouble communicating or who need help resolving conflicts.

    While both mediated and uncontested divorces can be less stressful and less expensive than a contested divorce, they are not necessarily the best option for every couple. It is important to consult with a qualified attorney to determine which type of divorce is right for your unique situation.

    If an uncontested divorce becomes a contested divorce, the attorney can remain to represent the party that hired them.

    In a mediated divorce, if the matter is not resolved or becomes contested, the attorney withdraws from the representation of either party, and both parties hire new attorneys.

    However, a letter outlining any agreements will be provided to both parties to take to their attorneys, hopefully cutting down on issues that need to be litigated, saving time and money for everyone.

    What is the difference between a mediated divorce and a contested divorce?

    In a contested divorce, both parties usually hire their own attorneys, and the adversarial process begins with no agreements in place.

    In a mediated divorce, the mediator,a skilled and experienced family law attorney who has been trained and certified by the Missouri Bar (or the state in which the divorce mediation takes place) to handle family law mediation, works with both parties in an effort to settle unresolved issues in the case, bringing in their knowledge of the Courts, the process, the law, and likelihood of outcomes.

    In a contested divorce, your attorney works only for your position and does not seek to reach a middle ground from the start.

    In a mediated divorce, the mediator tries to work with the parties to come to an agreement on outstanding issues and works with both sides to fully understand what the likely outcome will be should the matter proceed to a contested divorce.

    The mediator will not continue representation of either party should the matter be contested but can refer you to several excellent local divorce attorneys who will advocate on your behalf.

    Why should I try a mediated divorce rather than just start with a contested divorce?

    The mediator can help resolve disagreements before everyone pays attorneys to fight overall issues.

    The divorce mediator can give unbiased direction and guidance based on years of experience in family law, both contested and uncontested matters.

    If successful, a mediated divorce will save everyone a lot of time, money, and stress.

    If unsuccessful in resolving the outstanding issues, the mediator can help limit and clarify what agreements and disagreements remain, thereby cutting down on the issues that need to be litigated in an adversarial process.

    This helps save a significant amount of attorney fees by having the attorney focus on only specific issues rather than all issues.

    Many Courts require that the parties attempt mediation in contested matters, and your previous attempt at mediation should excuse you from having to do this once things are filed with the Court, thereby cutting down on delays and costs once the process has started.

    Costs associated with contested, uncontested, and mediated divorces

    The exact cost of a divorce will always depend on things such as the location of the divorce and the attorney representing you.

    Mediated divorces are the least expensive type of divorce. 

    For instance, as divorce attorneys in St. Louis, we charge a flat-rate fee of $2,500 to act as a divorce mediator.

    Uncontested divorces are typically the second least expensive type of divorce, however, at times they can be even cheaper than a mediated divorce.

    Some attorneys charge hourly, so the exact cost will depend on their rates. We offer flat-rate uncontested divorces that start at $1,250, however, most cases will cost slightly more.

    Contested divorces will almost always be the most expensive type of divorce.

    When things like property division, child custody, and child support are involved, the cost of your divorce is most likely going to cost at least $10,000.

    When is divorce mediation the best option?

    Understanding which circumstances would be best for a mediated divorce can play a vital role in the “success” of your divorce. A few examples of when you should hire an attorney for divorce mediation services include:

    Mediated divorces give you and your spouses more control over the outcome

    Mediated divorce can be a good option for couples who want to maintain control over the outcome of their divorce. With the help of a neutral third party, couples can work together to come to an agreement on the terms of their divorce. This can be especially beneficial for couples who want to avoid the stress and expense of a contested divorce.

    Divorce mediation can help keep your relationship on positive terms

    Mediation can also be a good option for couples who want to maintain a positive relationship after the divorce. By working together to come to an agreement, couples can avoid the hostility and resentment that can sometimes arise during a contested divorce.

    Obviously, this can change if things do not go as planned or if additional disputes arise during the mediation process, however, if you have decided to use mediation services, you and your spouse likely already have a solid understanding as to how things will be divided.

    Mediated divorces are faster and less expensive

    Another benefit of a mediated divorce is that it can be a faster process than a contested divorce. Since the couple is working together to come to an agreement, there is no need for a judge to make decisions on their behalf. This can save both time and money, as the couple can avoid the lengthy court process that is often associated with a contested divorce.

    Hire our divorce mediators in St. Louis, Missouri

    Overall, mediated divorce can be a good option for couples who want to maintain control over the outcome of their divorce, avoid hostility and resentment, and save time and money. However, it is important to consult with a qualified attorney to determine which type of divorce is right for your unique situation.

    Speak with a divorce mediator in St. Louis, Missouri today!