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Can a Mediator File for Divorce?

By Jim Robenalt

Can a Mediator File for Divorce in Ohio?

When you work with a mediator while getting divorced, they’ll be able to provide you with a whole host of benefits. The benefits of divorce mediation will make the divorce process easier for you and your spouse.

But before you decide to take part in divorce mediation, you’ll want to get answers to some important questions. For example, you might be wondering, “Can a mediator file for divorce?” This is one of the most common questions that people often ask.

So, can a divorce mediator file divorce papers on your behalf? Or will you need to work with a mediator and then hire a divorce lawyer separately to handle filing all the paperwork that comes along with getting divorced?

We’re going to do our best to answer all of your questions here so that you aren’t left wondering, “Can you use a mediator to file for divorce?” anymore. Continue reading to learn more about whether or not a mediator can file for divorce for you.

What Does a Divorce Mediator Do?

There are some people who lump divorce lawyers and divorce mediators into the same category. But in reality, divorce lawyers and divorce mediators have much different jobs.

A divorce lawyer will work with just one party during the divorce process. They will represent this party throughout the course of divorce proceedings and work entirely on their behalf when it comes to working out divorce agreements.

divorce mediator, on the other hand, will serve as a neutral third party that will work with both parties taking part in a divorce. They’ll help a couple come to agreements on everything from dividing up assets to working out custodial issues and child support.

The goal of a divorce mediator will be to try and keep a couple out of divorce court. They’ll do their best to help the two people who are getting divorced to make a series of important decisions in unison so that one side doesn’t feel like they need to take the other side to court to get what they want.

How Does the Divorce Mediation Process Work?

The divorce mediation process will typically start out with a free consultation involving a divorce mediator and the couple that is getting divorced. During this consultation, a mediator will explain how divorce mediation works and answer questions like, “Can a mediator file divorce papers?”

From there, a divorce mediator will hold several mediation sessions with a couple that will last for upwards up 3 hours. Throughout these sessions, a mediator will lead the way as a couple discusses a wide range of topics, including:

  • Real estate
  • Cars
  • Retirement plans
  • Debts
  • Custody arrangements
  • And more

As you might imagine, divorce mediation can take a fairly long time because of how important each of these topics is. A mediator and a couple will have to devote a decent amount of time to each before striking an agreement on them.

Once all of this is done, a divorce mediator will then put together what is called a Memorandum of Understanding, or an MOU. It’s a document that lists all the things two people have agreed upon with regard to their divorce.

What Are the Benefits of Divorce Mediation?

Getting a divorce can be extremely stressful for those involved. It’s actually routinely listed as one of the most stressful life events that people ever have to go through.

The biggest benefit of divorce mediation is that it’ll eliminate most of the stress that is so often associated with filing for divorce. You and your spouse will find that you’ll be able to work your way through the divorce process so much more effectively when you work with a mediator versus divorce lawyers.

Divorce mediation is also a great option for those who share kids since it enables those who are getting divorced to remain cordial for the most part. That isn’t to say that they won’t disagree about some aspects of their divorce. But that is when a divorce mediator can step in and ensure everyone remains levelheaded.

Can You Divorce Without Mediation?

While divorce mediation can be very beneficial for a couple that is getting divorced, you don’t have to meet with a mediator if you don’t want to. You’re more than welcome to get divorced with the help of divorce lawyers if you feel as though that will be your best option.

The unfortunate truth is that some couples simply can’t get along and won’t be able to sit in a room together and go through the mediation process. For these people, getting divorced in divorce court will be a better option in many cases.

Can a Mediator File for Divorce?

At this point, you can see why it would make so much sense for some people to hire a divorce mediator. But you might still be confused when it comes to the question, “Can a mediator file for divorce?”

The easy answer is yes…but there are some stipulations that you’ll need to keep in mind. Let us explain.

After you’re all done going through the divorce mediation process, you and your spouse will receive the aforementioned Memorandum of Understanding. You can then take this MOU to a divorce lawyer and have them file your divorce if you would like.

If, however, you are located in the same state as your divorce mediator, they should also be able to file for divorce for you. Either you or your spouse will need to retain your mediator as your representative and have them use the MOU they created to prepare a series of legal documents including things like:

  • Petitions
  • Decrees
  • Shared parenting plans
  • Separation agreements

Even though your mediator will only technically be representing one of you, they’ll still be doing what’s best for both of you based on the agreements they were able to help you come to.

All of that being said, you won’t be able to use a divorce mediator to file for divorce if they operate in a different state than you. In this case, a mediator can still provide you with an MOU, but you will be responsible for either finding your own divorce lawyer or asking your mediator for lawyer recommendations.

Should You Use a Mediator to File for Divorce?

Now that you know the answer to the question, “Can a mediator file for divorce?”, there is only one more question left to answer. That question is, “Is divorce mediation right for me?”

You are obviously the only one who can answer this question based on how you’re feeling about your upcoming divorce. This question might be even more difficult to answer than, “Do divorce mediators file paperwork?” But you should be able to come up with an answer by considering a few key factors.

First and foremost, you should give some thought to what your current relationship is with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You will need to be civil to some degree for divorce mediation to work.

You also need to be on the same page when it comes to most of the major decisions that will need to get made during the divorce process. A divorce mediator will be able to help you get on the same page if you have differing opinions on just a few topics. But if you’re butting heads on every single issue, they might not be able to work their magic.

Finally, you and your spouse will need to have enough time to devote to the divorce mediation process. It can take up to 15 hours, if not longer, for a mediator to iron out all the details surrounding a divorce. You’ll need to be patient as you work towards coming to agreements throughout this process.

The good news is that working with a divorce mediator is a whole lot easier than it used to be, thanks to the development of Zoom. But even still, you will need to spend your fair share of time sitting down with a mediator in order for mediation to work.

Contact Us to Take Advantage of a Better Way of Divorce Mediation

We understand that people have a lot of questions about divorce mediation. “Can a mediator file for divorce?” is just one of the many questions people so often have when they’re considering mediation.

We would love to answer any and all questions that you have about the divorce mediation process. We would also love to host a free consultation with you and your spouse to see if mediation would be a good option for you.

Touch base with us today to get more information on hiring us to mediate your upcoming divorce.

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