How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take? Why Mediation Is the Faster Option
When peeling off a Band-Aid, do you take the slow and steady approach, or do you prefer to rip it right off? In a divorce, many couples prefer the faster method, favoring a short-term approach such as divorce mediation to finding closure and beginning their new post-divorce lives.
A long, drawn-out divorce can add pain and uncertainty to an already fraught time in your life:
• While it’s likely you have decided one spouse will move out, it’s tough to pay additional rent or buy a new home with monetary issues like child support, alimony, and property division left unsettled.
• The sooner you can come to a co-parenting agreement, the sooner your children can adjust to the new circumstances.
• While you may not initially want to jump into the dating pool, it will eventually happen. And it’s much easier to explain that you are divorced — rather than just separated — on a date.
Once you have decided to seek a divorce, how can you expedite the process, while ensuring all legal paperwork is handled properly and that you do not feel rushed in determining property and childcare agreements?
A Divorce at Your Speed
With divorce mediation, you and your ex can obtain a divorce at a pace that is often much faster than hiring attorneys and going to court. Here’s why:
A divorce mediator is a single third-party that’s specially trained to work with both of you in a neutral manner. A mediator knows how to help both of you communicate your needs, help you feel listened to and not talked over, and defuse heated moments without taking sides. Each person has a chance to agree or disagree with options and then work to come to the agreed-upon mediation plan.
Imagine instead that you both hire your own attorneys who want to get the “best deal” for each of you. Speaking through attorneys, rather than across a table from one another with a mediator by your side, can frame issues in an argumentative manner and increase hostility, rather than cooperation And it’s cooperation, understanding, and listening — not fighting — that will help you and your spouse reach a quicker agreement.
Related: 6 Reasons To Use A Mediator
2) Appointments on your schedule.
If your attorney-litigated divorce ends up in court, it may take years to reach a settlement. And in the meantime, your relationship with your ex can grow even more contentious. First, you must meet with your attorney, trusting your spouse is meeting with their attorney in an equally timely manner. Then the four of you must find time to meet — not an easy feat with busy lawyers. Then, the court appearance must be scheduled, potentially months away because of busy courts. Depositions are taken and witnesses might be called. Your spouse’s attorney (or yours) may call for motions that delay the proceedings. You can see how the process gets dragged out.
Divorce mediation, depending on the complexity, may be completed in a handful of appointments in the privacy and comfort of a mediator’s office.
Related: 6 Questions to Ask Your Divorce Mediator
3) No paperwork delays.
If you choose to instead “DIY” your divorce, you must wade through the paperwork on your own. Miss a form or a signature, and it’s back to the court building for another round. Divorce mediators can assist with paperwork once you and your spouse have reached tentative agreements, providing the expertise and assurance you need so that you know you’re submitting all the correct agreements and forms.
Related: What To Expect From A Mediator
So How Long After Mediation Is Divorce Final?
Every divorce in California takes a minimum of six months to become final from the time the initial paperwork is filed and served. However, the divorce is not over in six months unless all FINAL paperwork has been properly prepared and filed. Divorce Mediation will likely get you to the final paperwork stage much quicker.
How long does mediation itself take? It varies. Do you have property to split? A co-owned business? Co-parenting agreements to negotiate? In simpler cases, a couple can come to the necessary agreements in four mediation appointments or fewer. In more complex cases, you may have to consult with outside experts (e.g., a real estate appraiser, business valuator, or custody specialist), which adds time to the process.
You will need additional time in the beginning to gather all necessary documents, as well as time after the divorce mediation for a recommended review of your agreement by independent legal counsel. All told, to reach the stage where you submit the final paperwork can take a matter of months, rather than years, which can occur if a divorce ends up in court.
To start — and finish — your divorce proceedings more quickly, call a divorce mediator today or request a free consultation to get all of your questions answered.