Mediation is a Powerful Tool for Divorcing Families

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It’s the law

Since May, 2005, it is required that all Utah couples with contested issues in their divorce complete at least one mediation session with a court-approved mediator. The costs are to be split equally between the parties, according to the statute. If the cost is prohibitive, parties can request a pro bono mediator, but there is no guarantee that one will be provided. An important requirement in this law is that both parties must come to the session with a good faith effort to cooperate.

You can bring your family lawyer to the session. It’s best to not bring other family members, as when divorcing couples include parents, siblings, friends, etc., the session can quickly get out of hand.

During mediation, you will be able to discuss and negotiate solutions that will fit your family. The most common contested issues are money, property division, and parenting time. As a leading Provo divorce lawyer, we advise you to swallow your pride and get as much solved through the mediation process.

“Good Cause” waiver

If, when speaking to your divorce lawyer in Provo, there is “good cause” that you should not be at mediation with your ex, such as when you have a protective order in place, you can petition the courts to waive the requirement for mediation. Even in this extreme situation, there can be ways to hold a mediation session, such as by video call or even having both parties in the same building with their attorneys and the mediator goes from one to the other.

The stranger who decides how you’ll spend Christmas

What people may not understand is that in an acrimonious divorce is that anything going to litigation will be decided by a judge. While this makes good television or movies, the reality is that you will put yours and your children’s lives into a complete stranger’s hands to determine how you will live your lives with your children until they reach the age of majority.

Let’s go through this again. A complete stranger will be making decisions about your weekends, weekday evenings, birthdays, school breaks, summers, and all holidays.

That is not saying that these dedicated and well-meaning men and woman are out to get you; it means that they don’t have the knowledge that you have about your family. You will be rolling the dice with no control over your family’s future.

A recent divorcee advised us that when she went to court, even though she “won” many of the disputed issues, she walked out feeling deflated. She felt as though taking the children to her ex-husband’s home for visitation was somehow punitive since it was handed down by the court.

It’s important to create a new foundation for your future relationship with your ex so that you can all live in a new normal and move forward. A productive mediation session can be the first start.

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