Court-ordered mediation versus collaborative practice

In many divorce and family law cases, the court orders the parties to undergo mediation.  Based on the jurisdiction, the amount of time in which the parties can order the parties to go through mediation is time-limited.  For example, in Missouri, the parties according to Supreme Court Rule 88.07, parties can terminate mediation after 2-hours.

Mediation is generally worth the effort if a case has been filed already.  In some cases, the parties may be able to agree on some issues.  At a minimum, it at least gets parties together to talk about a potential resolution where it may not have happened otherwise.

The reality, however, is in a typical divorce case, there are lots of issues that have to be resolved to complete a divorce.  From division of marital property and debt, child custody, child support, spousal support and attorney fees, in a lot of cases, there are lots of complexities.

When a case is pending in court as well, emotions and tension can be high.  Parties can be worried about upcoming court dates.  Parties are often filing pleadings, motions and discovery.  With pending court dates, worry can be high.  Folks can feel as if their back is against the wall.

If parties were also able to resolve all their differences easily, it stands to reason that many parties wouldn’t be getting divorced in the first place.  While mediation can sound good in theory, it is difficult for many parties to resolve their entire divorce case in mediation.

Instead of mediation, some parties may consider holding off on filing their divorce.  And, instead, the parties can enter the collaborative process to try to resolve their divorce.  With no court case pending, there are no court dates.  Parties are also not filing pleadings, discovery and motions.  With that being the case, tension can often be lower.  Folks don’t feel as if their back is against the wall.

With tensions being lower, parties can dictate the pace of the case easier.  This gives parties the time to think about possible resolutions.  This can take a lot of pressure out the situation.  The parties also have the benefit of a divorce coach, financial neutral and child custody professional to help them reach creative resolutions.

Multiple meetings can be set to deal with all the issues in the case.  This can be a helpful and less stressful process for many.

If the parties are able to reach a resolution in collaborative practice, the divorce can then be filed and completed by affidavit or through a non-contested hearing.  For many parties, they should at least consider collaborative practice.

If you are interested in talking to an attorney about a collaborative divorce, you can contact Stange Law Firm, PC at 1-855-805-0595.

Author: Kirk C. Stange, Esq.

Kirk Stange is a Founding Partner at Stange Law Firm, PC.

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