Mediation In Divorce Proceedings
Mediation is an informal, non-binding process in which an impartial third party intervenes in an effort to resolve a dispute of two sides. Mediation has been used for decades in the business world as a way to resolve labor strife between a company’s management team and its workers. The two sides select the mediator, typically an individual who is skilled and experienced in the practice of settling disputes through negotiation.
Many states, including Nevada, offer mediation as an alternative to the contested divorce process. The spouses choose a mediator, usually an experienced Las Vegas divorce mediation attorney, who initially meets with the couple to gain an understanding of the issues that must be resolved. Depending on the circumstances, these can include:
The attorney then begins the negotiation process, which continues until the parties reach an agreement. Both parties review and sign the final agreement, which is then notarized and filed with the Clark County Family Court.
One potentially difficult issue that may also be addressed and resolved during the divorce mediation process in Las Vegas is the distribution of retirement benefits. If a spouse is a participant in an employee-sponsored retirement plan that is governed by ERISA, such as a defined benefit or defined contribution plan, it may become necessary to assign ownership of some or all of these benefits to another individual in order to facilitate the divorce settlement process.
A Qualified Domestic Retirement Order (QDRO) is a court order that stipulates how these assets should be assigned. The QDRO designates an “alternate payee” to receive the pension distribution as directed by the plan participant. The alternate payee must be the plan participant’s spouse, ex-spouse, child or dependent. The mediating attorney may enlist the services of an actuary to calculate the current value of the pension and draft the QDRO. The QDRO does not need to be included as part of the actual divorce decree.
Las Vegas divorce mediation can offer a number of advantages over the litigation process, in which each party hires an attorney and proceeds to resolve the issues in a court of law. Mediation saves each party the time and expense that accompanies a protracted court battle, allowing them to move on with their lives more quickly. It also saves the hassle and stress of having to make multiple court appearances. Because the mediation process is less contentious, it can increase the likelihood that the couple will maintain a civil relationship after the divorce process is complete. Finally, mediation can ensure marital assets are divided in a manner that is acceptable to both parties.
A typical divorce is a contentious process that often leads to bitter disputes over custody of the children and the couple’s financial assets. Each party hires an attorney to represent their own best interests, with a judge making the final determination. Needless to say, the process can be emotionally and financially draining, and the lingering bitterness can have a long-lasting negative impact on both spouses as well as their children.
An increasingly popular alternative to the standard divorce procedure is to use a process known as mediation. With mediation, both parties select a neutral and unbiased attorney who works with them to reach a mutual agreement regarding critical issues like child custody, alimony and the division of marital property. The final written agreement is filed with the court along with other divorce-related documents. The end result is a much more “civilized” divorce that benefits everyone.
There are several reasons why mediation can be a more palatable alternative for many couples seeking a divorce in Nevada. For many, the most important advantage is they avoid the financial and emotional cost associated with a protracted divorce process. As a result, the couple stands a better chance of enjoying an amicable relationship in the ensuing years.
Another key advantage to mediation is it enables the divorce process to move along and be settled relatively quickly. The parties can avoid the hearings and motions that often cause divorces to drag on, enabling them to come to a rapid conclusion and move on with their lives.
With mediation, one attorney listens to both sides of the story, and each party has an equal chance of being heard. Issues aren’t buried amongst a slew of legal proceedings, so there is a much better chance of arriving at a fair and just settlement that satisfies both parties.
When you choose Right Lawyers to handle the mediation, you get access to licensed attorneys who are skilled and experienced in this often delicate process. At Right Lawyers, our mediators are licensed attorneys in Nevada and highly trained and skilled in the process. In particular, our attorneys have the negotiating savvy to overcome potential obstacles and help both sides reach an agreement.
Because mediation eliminates much of the need for court appearances, the process is generally less complicated than a traditional divorce. Both parties have the opportunity to ask questions and voice concerns without having to go through a lengthy court process.
In a standard divorce, each attorney operates to serve the interests of his client. The mediation process is designed so one attorney provides unbiased assistance to both parties, which facilitates the process of reaching an agreement. As a result, the emotional and financial impact of the divorce process is mitigated. The mediator’s ultimate goal is to strike an agreement that serves the best interests of both spouses as well as their children.
If you have questions about divorce mediation in Las Vegas or want to know if divorce mediation is right for you, contact RIGHT Lawyers at (702) 914-0400 for an initial consultation.