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How Long Does Divorce Mediation Process Last In Cleveland, Ohio

By Jim Robenalt

Are you facing a divorce?

It should go as quickly and smoothly as possible. 

But with many issues on the line, you can expect a prolonged process.

It takes work to expedite when many things are on the line. More so if you and your spouse can’t see eye to eye on the critical issues.

If you want to speed up things, consider divorce mediation.

This out-of-court alternative is perfect for couples who must work through their marital issues but minimize conflict and cost. So it’s worth exploring.

What Is Divorce Mediation

Divorce mediation is an alternative mode of dispute resolution for couples who attempt to resolve their marital issues. Here, a neutral party, the mediator, will guide the parties toward a solution.

This approach is appealing because it resolves issues efficiently. It helps finalize the divorce process relatively fast without costing the spouses too much.

Once the spouses reach an agreement, the court can wrap up the divorce in just a couple of months.

The great thing about divorce mediation is you can start it at any stage—before or after filing for divorce.

What Is the Process of Divorce Mediation

In a nutshell, divorce mediation starts when the spouses meet with the mediator to discuss their issues. And it ends when they reach a settlement and submit their agreement to the court for approval. 

Ultimately, the goal of divorce is to obtain a final divorce decree. Please note that the divorce mediator will not make that decision. It is the court.

However, the divorce mediator will guide the parties to negotiate a mutually agreeable settlement.

Once the parties reach an agreement, everything else will be much simpler and quicker. The court will consider the spouses’ agreement in its final decree.

Here is a brief overview of what happens in divorce mediation.

Divorce Mediation Sessions

This is the stage where the spouses confer with the divorce mediator regarding their issues.

They settle disputes regarding their assets, child custody, and support here. 

But the divorce mediator will not decide on these matters. Instead, the parties will determine for themselves what is fair and reasonable. The mediator will only facilitate the session.

Divorce mediation can have as many sessions as the spouses need to work on their issues and reach a settlement.

The number of sessions, however, will depend on several factors. 

  • Have the spouses worked out the issues on their own?
  • Is there open communication between the spouses?
  • Are the spouses open to negotiating their problems instead of bickering or shutting the other off?
  • What is the level of complexity of their issues?

You also must consider the experience and expertise of the mediator handling the sessions.

It is possible to reach a settlement in just one session with all things favorable.

Putting the Settlement into Writing

Once the spouses settle, the next step is to put that into writing.

With the mediator’s help, the parties will write down their agreement in a document. Afterward, they will sign it before submitting it to the court for consideration.

Court’s Approval

After completing the written document containing their settlement, the spouses must submit it to the court for approval.

Most of the work is complete at this point.

The court will consider the spouses’ settlement in its final divorce decree. Because the issues have been settled, there is little to none left for the court to adjudicate.

For the spouses, all that is left is waiting for the court to give its final judgment. The length of the waiting time will depend on several factors.

During this waiting period, the spouses should try to avoid doing anything to jeopardize their mutually agreed settlement. This entails being careful with finances, assets, and parental responsibilities.

5 Factors That Determine the Length of the Divorce Mediation Process

“How long will the entire divorce mediation take?”

This is a common yet tricky question to answer with absolute certainty.

Many attendant circumstances can prolong or shorten each stage of the mediation process.

It is common for each mediation session to run between two and four hours. But then again, you will have to consider the willingness of the parties to negotiate. In addition, there may be complex issues that will take time for them to work out.

Here are five common factors that have an impact on the whole process.

1. The length of time the spouses entertained the idea of ending their marriage

One spouse has significantly more time to think about ending their marriage. 

If the other just realized their marriage is ending, divorce mediation will likely take longer. This realization will probably take some time to sink in for that spouse. 

With the emotional aspect taking over, the other party will be using the time to contemplate the end of their marriage instead of focusing on divorce mediation.

If emotions are causing you and your spouse a hard time processing your divorce, consider getting professional support. Perhaps counseling is an excellent option to help you focus on your objective.

2. Preparation

How prepared are you and your spouse to discuss the critical issues with the divorce mediator?

The more prepared you are, the less time it will take to conclude the mediation and negotiation.

First, you and your spouse must have the pertinent information, organizing and reviewing it in advance. It would help if you also brainstormed solutions for every issue at hand.

Working out the details and solutions ahead of time will lead to a more productive mediation for you and your spouse.

3. Complexity of the issues

Not all issues are the same. Some are simple; others are complicated.

Assets, properties, and businesses jointly owned or operated by the spouses require a more intensive discussion.

In the same way, parenting-related disputes tend to be more complicated.

The more complicated the issue, the longer it usually takes to discuss and brainstorm solutions.

4. Likelihood of entering into a compromise

Are communication lines open between you and your spouse?

How willing are you both to compromise?

In divorce mediation, concession and compromise are two keys to success. With the willingness, this out-of-court is effective.

Divorce mediation still requires cooperation; otherwise, the process will drag on indefinitely.

5. Divorce mediator’s expertise and experience

Having a mediator with expertise and experience in family and divorce mediation is crucial.

Working with a seasoned divorce mediator can significantly contribute to your mediation’s progress and eventual success. 

This legal practitioner knows what good questions to ask to facilitate mediation and negotiation. They can see the common ground and help lead the spouses to a compromise.

Why Divorce Mediation

Getting a divorce in Cleveland, Ohio, can involve a lot of steps. And with these steps come months or years before getting a final decree from the court.

It helps to work out a mutually agreeable settlement to expedite the proceedings.

With an agreement in place, the court will incorporate it in its final divorce decree. It will take out much of the needed work.

Here are reasons why you and your spouse should choose divorce mediation.

1. A quick and efficient solution 

When the spouses split up, it is customary to see distrust, miscommunication, and bickering.

But with the mediator’s help, the spouses can communicate effectively and settle amicably on critical matters.

Typically, divorce mediation delivers a quick and efficient route toward getting a divorce decree. It provides a platform for spouses to discuss their problems and resolve their differences.

In addition, the mediator can tailor the process to the spouses’ situation. This helps make it easier for the parties to make decisions regarding their assets and children.

2. Less expensive than going to a full-blown trial

Divorce mediation helps spouses get through divorce with less financial strain. 

Usually, couples proceed with mediation early on to avoid hiring lawyers.

The cost of private divorce mediation ranges from $3,000 to $8,000. And this amount is usually split by the spouses.

While mediation itself can still cost a couple of thousands, it can save couples a lot in the long run.

In divorce mediation, the couples don’t have to pay for legal services, which usually bill by the hour. And with full-blown divorce cases going on for months or years, you can only imagine how much the bill would be.

3. Confidentiality and privacy

What happens in divorce mediation stays in divorce mediation.

There will be no public record of whatever was discussed during the sessions. So it gives the couples the privacy they need, especially if they try to keep the public out of their sensitive issues.

4. Freedom to negotiate on fair and reasonable terms

Mediation sessions do not follow strict court rules of procedure. So this allows the parties to discuss a settlement on their terms.

Contrary to misconception, the mediator will not decide on matters discussed during the session. Instead, they will only help the couples reach a fair and reasonable settlement.

Conclusion

Divorce mediation is an excellent option to help Cleveland, Ohio, couples work out their issues. This out-of-court approach lets spouses hammer out the details regarding their assets, finances, parental responsibilities, and support efficiently, quickly, and at less cost.

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