Alabama couples who have separated may take advantage of mediation services to resolve disputed issues pertaining to their divorce. Mediation can reduce your divorce costs and time in court and potentially reduce marital strife and its negative impact on your children.
In divorce mediation and child custody mediation, the mediator is a neutral third party who is trained to help the divorcing couple negotiate with one another to resolve issues related to custody, division of property, responsibility for debts, alimony, and other issues that arise during a divorce.
Leigh Daniel Family Law offers mediation services in Huntsville, Alabama, with a focus on efficient and stress-reducing dispute resolution. A family law attorney can represent a divorcing spouse during a mediation session to ensure that the individual’s needs are expressed, and rights are protected.
A Leigh Daniel Family Law mediator or mediation lawyer will make sure you understand what to expect during each mediation session. If we represent you, we will also discuss with you the issues to be negotiated, the resolutions you are seeking, your non-negotiables, and issues you might be willing to compromise on to attain your overall goals. We want to make sure you are prepared for the divorce mediation process.
How to Prepare for a Divorce Mediation in Alabama
There are several essential steps to preparing for family law mediation, such as:
- Gathering financial information about you and your spouse as a couple and separately, including financial assets, outstanding debts, and a credit report about yourself.
- Preparing an inventory of real and personal property you and your spouse own jointly and separately.
- Gathering or preparing documents such as work schedules, your child’s school schedule, extracurricular calendar, medical history, and education history.
- Writing down issues you want to discuss and how you want them resolved. This is better if you have multiple ideas for resolution that you are willing to consider.
Your goals and objectives for mediation should be realistic. We want to help you prepare well enough that you enter the mediation process with a thorough understanding of the situation so you have the confidence to listen to your spouse’s point of view and proposals that may arise during the course of your mediation sessions.
We will prepare a written first offer for each issue to be discussed, which you will be able to present. A comprehensive first offer gives you a starting point for negotiations. If your spouse has not prepared a first offer (most likely they will), you have the advantage of discussions starting from your suggestion. When both parties present their first offers, you know immediately how far apart you are.
The decision maker in mediation is not the mediator or the lawyers. The decision-makers are the parties to the divorce, acting with the advice of their divorce lawyers. To be successful, you must be willing to reach workable resolutions to the issues at hand. You cannot control your spouse’s attitude, but you can be open to different settlement scenarios and work to find a mutually agreeable solution.
How to Prepare for Mediation in Specific Family Law Cases in Alabama
Depending on your needs, mediation may address sensitive issues and special considerations for:
Child Custody Mediation
Divorcing parents of underage children need to negotiate legal and physical custody of their children. One parent may have sole custody, or the parents may share joint custody and parenting time. The parent who has custody makes decisions about the child’s education, healthcare, and religious training. Child custody disputes can be highly emotionally charged, especially if one parent appears to be trying to take the children away from the other parent. In Alabama, the family law judge must determine that a child custody agreement serves “the best interests of the child,” which usually includes regular contact with both parents. Unless you are ready to show the court that your spouse is an unfit parent – because of drug addiction, abuse, or lawlessness, you should be prepared to agree to a co-parenting plan with established routines, open communication, flexibility, and compromise. A successful child custody mediation may help divorcing parents negotiate a workable arrangement for legal custody of a child.
Child Support and Alimony Mediation
Alabama uses a standard formula to calculate child support payments, which your mediator will know how to apply to your case. This makes the primary issue to ensure that we present a complete financial picture of your financial abilities, your spouse’s abilities and your children’s needs when we present your first offer about child support. When seeking alimony, we need to show your need and enough of a difference in your income and your spouse’s income to make a reasonable payment feasible. Conversely, our attorneys would seek to forestall an unreasonable alimony demand or child support demand by demonstrating that your spouse’s financial capabilities are comparable or superior to yours or that their request is unreasonable.
Financial and Property Division Mediation
In an Alabama divorce, property, financial assets, and debts shared by divorcing parties are to be divided in a way that is fair and equitable. However, equitable does not mean equal. A 50-50 split is rare in court and unnecessary in mediation. The division of a couple’s property in mediation can lead to wide-ranging negotiations. We would work to identify the property you want, the property you are willing to give up, assets that may be sold, and how the proceeds of the sale should be split. The division of property includes the assignment of debts. We would advise you about the potential impact of the distribution of assets on your taxes should you keep them, let your spouse have them, sell them, or maintain joint ownership. As you present your first offer for dividing property and negotiate with your spouse, we will advise you about whether counter-proposals are reasonable and help keep track of potential deals and agreements.
Contact the Family Law Attorneys at Leigh Daniel Attorney at Law
Divorce mediation can save time, money, and the emotional drain of a courtroom fight. For guidance on how to move forward with mediation as a part of your divorce, speak to one of Leigh Daniel Family Law’s experienced divorce attorneys and mediators. When advising you in mediation, the lawyers of Leigh Daniel Family Law can conduct a thorough review of your divorce case and your needs to develop a strategy to pursue the outcome that best serves your interests and your children’s interests.
To learn more about how we can help you uphold your rights during this difficult time, contact us online today or call us at (256) 692-1275.