Divorce Mediation & Negotiation

Contested divorce and uncontested divorce are not the only kinds of divorces. In between these two poles are a lot of situations where couples are in dispute, but have no wish to go to litigation. There are many reasons for these alternatives:

  • The issues being discussed are personal and the parties don't wish to discuss them in open court.
  • The parties don't want to surrender control of their case to a judge.
  • The parties want to "keep cool." They value their relationship with each other and their relationships with their children too much to be drawn into a heated dispute.

Whatever the reason, the phrase alternative dispute resolution describes a set of legal mechanisms that can be used to convert contested issues into uncontested ones.

About Collaborative Divorce

Collaborative divorce is the term used when the parties attempt to mediate their divorce or any particular issue in the divorce before the case is filed.

In a collaborative divorce, the parties may choose to use a single attorney or may each be represented by a separate attorney. The parties through the attorney or attorneys involved attempt to negotiate common ground in their divorce so that, eventually, the contested issues go away and the parties can file an uncontested divorce. If the process is unsuccessful, the attorney or attorneys involved in the collaborative process can no longer represent either party, and the parties must seek separate trial counsel to go forward with a contested divorce. If an agreement is reached, the attorney or attorneys involved can file the agreement with the court.

Alabama Divorce Negotiation Attorney

In a collaborative divorce, the idea is that the parties work together, with counseling from a number of sources, to reach a compromise on disputed issues so that the uncertainty and cost associated with litigation can be avoided. The cost savings, particularly in a complex divorce, can be significant and result in a distinct benefit to all parties involved.

Collaborative Divorce and High Net Worth Cases

In high net worth or complex asset cases, as well as cases involving child custody and visitation and child support, the collaborative process can involve other professionals, including accountants, psychologists, medical professionals, real estate professionals or tax lawyers. Commonly, such issues will include the valuation of a business or some other complex asset that needs to be divided as part of the divorce.

Mediation as an Alternative to Divorce by Trial

Divorce mediation is typically undertaken after the filing of a contested divorce. It is also possible, although not common, that divorce mediation takes place before a divorce case is filed. As in a collaborative divorce, the parties must agree that there are issues in dispute that they would like to resolve themselves with or without the help of other professionals, but, definitely without a full trial on the merits.

Divorce mediation is not a binding process and at any point in time, either party can simply walk away. If the parties can agree, an agreement can be signed and submitted to the court and a trial avoided. If not, discussions and offers made in mediation are not admissible, and the case is tried as if mediation never took place.

Shane Oncale is an experienced divorce mediation attorney. Contact or call The Oncale Firm at 205-458-9805 to arrange a free consultation.

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