The Benefits of Divorce Mediation

The media often portrays divorce as an elaborate drama that largely takes place in front of a judge in a packed courtroom. While divorce hearings are still common, not every divorce requires multiple high stress court appearances. Though a divorce that involves disagreements over child custody, property division, or other issues takes longer than an uncontested divorce, it is possible to use mediation to resolve most issues. Mediation involves meeting with a neutral individual who is experienced with helping divorcing couples come to an agreement that satisfies both parties. Being aware of the benefits of divorce mediation can help you decide if the process is suitable for your situation.

Divorce Mediation Reduces Costs

Getting a divorce is often one of the most expensive legal processes that an adult goes through in his or her life. Quality attorneys who are able to dedicate their time to representing you are expensive, and it may be necessary to retain a divorce attorney for over a year if your contested divorce is not easily settled. Attending mediation is less expensive than typical divorce proceedings, saving both adults money. Most mediators charge an hourly rate that is dependent upon the experience of the mediator and the location. However, the cost associated with attending multiple mediation sessions is substantially lower than the expense of a prolonged court battle.

Keeps the Couple in Control

A couple who only disagrees about a few key issues could find themselves in a difficult situation if they place their fates in the hands of the court. While their attorneys will do their best to get their clients a satisfactory outcome, the judge hearing the case may impose or suggest something that one or both adults are not comfortable with. Using a mediator helps couples avoid being placed in a situation in which a third party makes decisions that they could be forced to live with indefinitely. During mediation, you and your spouse remain in control and will have an opportunity to discuss the situation in a constructive manner while working towards a solution that is acceptable for everyone.

Less Time Consuming

One of the most difficult parts of the divorce process is the time it takes to resolve all disputes and reach a settlement. After months of legal battles, both parties are often emotionally and financially drained. Mediation gives you an opportunity to reach a faster resolution by placing you with an experienced mediator who is able to suggest multiple ideas and provide neutral insight to your situation. A mediator helps couples understand how to initiate a healthy dialogue so that they can come to a resolution in less time.

Contact an Experienced Mediator

If you or a loved one is going through a prolonged divorce, consider contacting a qualified family law mediator. Lawrence Law Office has a certified specialist who is able to combine extensive knowledge of family law with the focused mediation needed to resolve complex disputes. We are able to work with you to resolve issues quickly in a way that establishes a healthy working relationship between co-parents and family members. Contact us today to schedule a consultation at our conveniently located Columbus office.

Child Custody for Working Moms

Child custody is no longer automatic for working moms.

According to the Huffington Post, working moms, especially those who out-earn their spouses, must now fight for custody of their children. Since as many as 30 percent of wives earn more money than their husbands, the problem of assigning child custody is growing.

Many years ago, custody was simple: since mothers stayed home and conducted the majority of parenting tasks, they retained custody. Later, when women found workforce equality, they were faced with 50/50 custody arrangements after divorce. More recently, psychologists have questioned whether 50/50 arrangements are beneficial for children and have suggested that the courts assign a primary caregiver. The result is that moms who spend more time working outside the home than dads may face the devastation of ‘losing their children.’

Several strategies may help working moms retain custody. According to the article, since judges must make quick decisions based on empirical evidence, it is best to reach an agreement without going to court. To this end, moms should try to envision dads as part of the parenting team rather than an adversary. Another helpful tip for working moms is to adjust their work hours prior to the divorce and be visible to outsiders as a primary caregiver. For example, working moms should attend parent-teacher conferences and take the kids to their lessons and practices. A journal that documents child- and home-related activities can be very helpful.

Child custody disputes may be the most emotionally taxing component of divorce. However, mediation may be effective in keeping the custody negotiations out of the courtroom. A family law attorney can be beneficial to working moms throughout this stressful time.

Determining Child Custody in Ohio

Child custody is often one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce proceeding. When both parents want custody of the children and cannot reach a compromise, the court will issue a child custody order to settle the matter.

Like most states, Ohio bases child custody decisions on the “best interests of the child.” There is no presumption that the mother (or the father, for that matter) will get primary custody.

Instead, the court bases its decision on the child’s overall “best interests,” as guided by the following factors:

  • The individual wishes of the child’s parents
  • The child’s own wishes and concerns, if the judge feels the child is mature enough to form a well-reasoned decision regarding custody
  • The child’s relationship with his or her parents, siblings and other important people
  • How well the child has adjusted to his or her school, home and community
  • The mental and physical health of all persons involved in the custody arrangement
  • Whether either parent is more likely to honor the court-approved visitation or parenting time rights awarded to the other parent
  • Whether either parent has failed to meet child support obligations
  • Whether there is any history of child abuse in the family
  • Whether one parent has denied the parenting rights of the other parent
  • Whether either parent has established, or is planning to establish, a residency outside of the state of Ohio

In some cases, the court will make a determination that shared parenting is in the best interests of the child. In doing so, it will look toward the following factors:

  • The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions jointly
  • Each parent’s ability to encourage the child to love and have contact with the other parent
  • Any history of domestic abuse, child abuse or parental kidnapping
  • Whether the parents have sufficient geographic proximity to facilitate shared parenting
  • The recommendation of the child’s guardian ad litem, if the child has a guardian ad litem

The above factors serve as a guide, but court’s ultimate decision will be based on the unique elements of each individual case.

Child custody hearings can be a stressful process, but by understanding the guidelines, you can be better prepared to present your case.

Mediation to Avoid High Costs of Changes to Divorce Decrees and Child Custody / Support

At Lawrence Law Office, we often see cases where people are going back to court to litigate changes in child custody, visitation and support orders. This can be the result of almost any change in either of the parent’s circumstances including relocation, increased or decreased earnings, a new relationship for one of the parents, alcohol or drug issues, work schedules or simply disagreements between the parties.

If you believe changes need to be made to an existing court order following a divorce you should consider mediation. Family law mediation allows the parties to facilitate a conversation and reach agreement – even on issues where there is deep disagreement and/or animosity. The goal of mediation is to provide a productive environment where genuine issues can be raised, and multiple options can be identified and evaluated.

Mediation
Mediation usually resolves these differences in a much shorter timeframe, and at a significantly lower cost than going back to court and hashing things out in front of a judge. Mediation allows the parties to maintain a higher degree of control over the ultimate outcome, instead of having a third party (judge) impose a solution that may not be welcomed by either party. An effective mediator will also help the parties to develop better skills for managing future issues.

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