Portland Divorce Mediation Lawyers
Taking a Collaborative Approach
At times, divorce and other family law matters can be resolved without the expense, time, and stress of lengthy courtroom proceedings. Involving a professional mediator who encourages productive communication between disputing parties, mediation takes a collaborative approach to a disagreement. This allows disputing parties to retain more control over proceedings – and their outcome. Rather than lawyers and judges making decisions regarding custody or divorce, the parties themselves can reach mutually acceptable agreements that are in their best interests.
According to the State of Oregon Judicial Department, “the courts encourage mediation of disagreements in family law cases.” In some Oregon counties, parents must attend mediation before any court hearings will be held if their family law matter involves minor children, although mediation may be waived in certain circumstances. We can talk to you about your specific family law matter to determine whether mediation will be required, if private mediation services should be sought, or if there is another approach that will be more beneficial to your case.
Benefits of Mediation
In determining whether mediation is right for you (or if it will be required in your case), you may find it helpful to review the pros and cons of this collaborative approach to family law disputes.
Mediation can offer several key benefits. For example:
- Mediators are impartial and must not favor one party over the other.
- Mediation is confidential.
- Mediation typically takes far less time than courtroom hearings and proceedings.
- Mediation is typically far less expensive than litigating family law matters.
- Mediation helps disputing parties retain more control over proceedings.
- Mediation leaves the door open to more flexible agreements, based on a family’s unique needs.
When mediation is not required by the court, it is completely voluntary. That means that both parties must agree to take this approach. Additionally, parties may find that, even under a mediator’s skilled guidance, they cannot reach agreements regarding their dispute. At that point, they may need to go through with court proceedings.
How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
Divorce often ends up being so costly because spouses who can’t agree on a settlement spend a lot of time in court to resolve their disputes. This means that they’re paying their attorneys by the hour for many more hours than it might take to settle a divorce through mediation.
Spouses who are relatively amicable and can work out a divorce settlement can save thousands and even tens of thousands of dollars through mediation. Whereas a low-conflict divorce could cost somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000, the same divorce can be settled through mediation for much less.
Remember: Less time spent with attorneys in court can mean spending far less on the average divorce.
How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?
Although Oregon used to have a law that required couples to wait 90 days after filing for divorce, no such wait is necessary anymore. This means that if a couple chooses to pursue mediation and has an uncontested divorce, they could settle in a matter of weeks.
This is much faster than a contested divorce involving litigation, which can take six months to a year or longer to complete.
How to Prepare for Divorce Mediation
Preparing for divorce mediation is often key to reaching a settlement as quickly as possible and without incurring any unnecessary expenses.
The first thing you’ll need to do is assemble all the necessary paperwork that could be relevant to your divorce. This will include recent pay stubs, W2 or 1099 forms, an itemized list of assets (bank accounts, retirement accounts, real estate, etc.). You will also need to list your debts (credit cards, mortgage, auto loans, student loans, etc.).
You should also set goals for the mediation process. This means articulating what you and your spouse want to walk away from the mediation process with. Goals can include how assets and debts should be divided, how much parenting time each spouse gets with children, and other important objectives.
Once you and your spouse feel fully prepared to begin the divorce mediation process, it’s time to seek the assistance of a mediator like someone from Levine Law Center who can help.
Is Mediation Right for You?
Like most family law matters, you should not begin mediation without seeking professional counsel. Our Portland mediation lawyers can talk to you about your goals and what may be required in your case. At Levine Law Center, we believe in taking a fresh approach to our clients’ divorce, custody, and other family law cases. We work closely with our clients to protect their best interests and pursue the best possible outcome in their individual cases.