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What is Divorce Mediation & How Can I Prepare For It?

At Kirshenbaum Law, we’ve handled thousands of Rhode Island divorce cases. Our experience has given us the opportunity to see both couples who are able to put their differences aside for the greater good of the family to those who are unable to communicate without getting in an argument.

In Rhode Island, the two types of divorces are contested and uncontested. In a contested divorce, the parties are unable to come to an agreement on child custody, division of assets, property or another issue. Contested divorces typically take longer to resolve and are often more expensive.

If you and your spouse agree on assets, custody and all other aspects of your marital estate, your best option is to file for an uncontested divorce. In this situation, you and your spouse agree that neither of you is at fault for the breakdown of the marriage. Also called a no-fault divorce, most fill out the divorce papers citing “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the split.

Can I Get A Divorce Without Going To Court?

In Rhode Island, you must attend a minimum of one court hearing when filing for divorce. However, if your divorce is uncontested, you might only need to attend that one hearing.

If you want to avoid going to court, you have options. In no-fault divorces, you can opt to settle the aspects of the divorce through an Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation.

It’s important to note that mediation does not always provide the best outcomes for both spouses, even in no-fault divorces. If you plan on filing for divorce and would like to attempt mediation, seek advice from an attorney at Kirshenbaum Law Associates. Experts in handling Rhode Island divorce cases, we’ll help you understand if mediation is the best way to resolve your case.

Our goal is to help you avoid a potentially costly mistake that could negatively impact your family or your financial well-being, for years to come.

How to prepare for divorce mediation in Rhode Island

If you’re certain you want to pursue mediation or an alternative dispute resolution and have spoken to an attorney, your next step is to prepare for your first session.

To start, compile documents and statements to help the mediator get an accurate picture of your current situation. This includes any information relating to your financial assets such as bank statements, tax returns, property information, pay stubs, retirement account balances, credit card debts, loans and more.

The more thorough you are in your information gathering, the easier it is for the mediator.

Next, write down your goals. Consider the implications of divorce including the division of assets, custody of your children and other major life changes that will occur. Document your desired outcomes in every area and bring them to your mediation sessions. This helps ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Ideally, you’ll have consulted with an attorney before your session. This is an important step as once the agreement is filed with the court it can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to make changes.

Most mediation sessions last between 1-2 hours each session and can cost an average of $300 per hour. The number of sessions you need will depend on your situation. The goal is to create a divorce agreement that works for both you and your ex.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Divorce Mediation

In some cases, the mediation is successful and results in an uncontested hearing. In this scenario, you and your soon-to-be-ex can significantly decrease the duration of your divorce and the financial burden. Additionally, mediation will provide a level of privacy not often realized in a traditional family court litigation.

Often though, divorces start out in mediation and end up in litigation. While you may think you agree on all of the terms of your divorce, when you begin to discuss the details you could realize this is no longer the case. When this happens, you should retain an attorney to help you get your desired result.

As stated earlier, a mistake or omission during the mediation process could result in long-term negative effects on your family life and financial well-being.

If you plan on filing for divorce, speak to Kirshenbaum Law Associates first. It is never advisable to try to divorce without an attorney’s assistance. You may make a mistake that follows you for years to come.

For more information on Rhode Island divorce and mediation, contact us at 401-467-5300.

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