For many, finalizing a divorce is a long, contentious process. The average divorce in the US costs around $15,000. Much of the expense and stress associated with divorce is tied up in the courtroom, where spouses contend with one another over various divorce-related processes, such as property division, spousal support, child custody, etc.
But you don't need to resign yourself to a bitter, expensive divorce. Using mediation can enable you to negotiate a mutually beneficial arrangement for your divorce, helping you save time, stress, and money.
At Blood Law, PLLC, our Waxhaw mediation attorneys will work with you to understand North Carolina's mediation laws and pursue an optimal outcome in your divorce.
To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our divorce services, contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570.
What Is Mediation?
During mediation, a neutral third party (the mediator) meets with two parties engaged in a legal case and helps them resolve their dispute without the need for a trial.
Essentially, mediation enables two parties to resolve a legal dispute outside of court. In North Carolina, parties engaged in an equitable distribution or child custody case must use mediation and attempt to resolve their differences through negotiation before pursuing their case in court. However, mediation is commonly used to settle disputes in a variety of other cases.
Mediators cannot give either party legal advice during mediation. If you wish to obtain legal counsel during your mediation, you must hire a mediation lawyer. A mediation lawyer will help you defend your rights and negotiate with the other party (or their representation), increasing your chances of receiving a beneficial long-term outcome in your mediation case.
How Does Mediation Work for Divorce in North Carolina?
Mediation is most commonly used in divorce cases. Whether you share children with your spouse, property division (also referred to as "equitable distribution") plays a role in every divorce.
During property division, you work with your spouse to decide how marital assets and liability you possess should be divided amongst you post-divorce. The outcome of your property division case could impact your financial stability for years or even decades post-divorce, so understandably, property division disputes tend to be somewhat contentious.
Engaging in mediation helps you resolve your differences without relying on a court. That can be beneficial since it's difficult to know whether a certain court holds biases or will interpret your case favorably. Using mediation can help you have more direct control over the outcome of your case, and therefore, enable you to achieve a more favorable result.
You may be aware that you must be separated from your spouse for at least a year and a day before you can finalize your divorce in North Carolina.
When you separate, you must execute a separation agreement with your spouse. The separation agreement contains terms for:
- Property division,
- Child support, and
- Child custody.
You will engage in mediation as part of developing your separation agreement. However, if you wish to renegotiate the terms of your divorce before finalizing it, you can also use mediation to achieve that goal.
What Are the Other Benefits of Mediation?
In addition to giving you more agency in your case, mediation has several other benefits:
- It's more cost-effective. The average divorce in the US costs roughly $15,000, and most of that is bundled into court fees. Since mediation happens out of court and streamlines the divorce process, mediating your divorce can enable you to save thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. That's important, because you can expect to pay for various other expenses (such as a new place to live, a new vehicle, basic necessities, etc.) as part of your divorce. The more money you have to invest in post-divorce expenses, the better off you'll be in the long run. If you want to use your divorce to finally take that opportunity and move to a different city or change careers, having that extra money to help you do so just sweetens the deal.
- It's faster. Mediation can resolve in as little as one session. Even mediations that take multiple sessions take relatively little time to resolve, especially in comparison to fighting out a divorce or separation in court. The expedited nature of mediation plays a role in how much it costs, but it can also help you get your legal dispute over with more quickly, especially if you know what you want out of your case.
- It's less stressful. Most people find that mediating a divorce or similar case is much less stressful than attempting to resolve it in the courtroom. Mediation functions on the premise that both parties can engage in good-faith negotiations with one another and reach a mutually beneficial arrangement. The collaborative nature of mediation tends to make it more amicable than battling it out in court. If you share children with your soon-to-be-ex, mediation can help you establish a healthy foundation for your relationship post-divorce and co-parent with each other more effectively. If you work together or just want to remain friends, mediation can also make that easier.
Mediation is one of the most low-risk, high-reward options you can take to resolve a legal dispute, which is why it's mandatory for so many types of cases.
At Blood Law, PLLC, our experienced mediation attorneys will work with you to defend your rights and ensure you find the best path forward in your mediation case.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (704) 286-0570.
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With offices in Charlotte, Waxhaw & Lake Norman, we make it easier for families across North Carolina to find quality counsel.
Children Come FirstWith the complexities of family law, we put the well-being and safety of your children at the forefront of your case.
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Anna Blood Founder and Managing Attorney
Olivia Lowery Senior Attorney
Allison Morris Associate Attorney
Michael Mohun Law Clerk
Lauren Andrews Associate Attorney
Allison Thomas Senior Attorney
Rachael Beller Law Clerk
Debra McDuffie Paralegal
Liz Whitaker Paralegal
Samantha Mishko Law Clerk
Niki High Paralegal
Leigh Ann Broome Director of Operations
Jessica George Firm Manager
Tandi Gerow Client Relations Coordinator
Savannah Langley Client Relations Coordinator