A contested divorce in Kansas City can be an overwhelming experience, fraught with fear, hurt feelings, and anger that make an agreeable resolution difficult, if not impossible. It is a stressful process that typically breeds and reinforces feelings of insecurity and animosity. Divorce mediation offers a valuable alternative. The goal of mediation is to allow the divorcing couple to reach agreements that meet their needs as well as the needs of their children without the financial and emotional cost of a court battle.
What Can I Expect From A Contested Divorce In Kansas City?
A contested divorce in Kansas City is the traditional process of bargaining from specific and often conflicting positions, backed by the intervention of an impersonal court of law. It is sometimes referred to as a litigation divorce.
The process of a contested divorce in Kansas City often involves the use of formal legal procedures known as “discovery,” to obtain financial and other relevant information. Discovery may include the use of court-ordered testimony taken before a court reporter, known as depositions, and often times by a subpoena. A subpoena is a court order for witnesses, documents, or materials that are believed to be relevant to the issues to be presented to the court.
After the divorce is finalized many people are dissatisfied with their litigated outcome, which can lead to further disputes and additional time in court. A litigated divorce process may be a good approach, however, under certain conditions, such as abuse within the marriage or a level of distrust that doesn’t allow for full and fair disclosure of information.
How Is Divorce Mediation Different?
By contrast, in divorce mediation, you and your spouse use a neutral third party to assist you in reaching agreements that meet your needs and the needs of your children. The mediator does not have to be a lawyer and does not represent either party. Even if the mediator is a lawyer, they cannot offer legal advice in their role as mediator, and they will not tell you what to do.
Divorce mediation may be utilized by represented parties (those who have hired attorneys) or unrepresented parties. A mediator may assist with the completion of the necessary documents for the court, and, in some cases, might appear in court with the parties as a mediator. Both spouses are responsible for preparing all the required forms for the court in order for the divorce to be legal and binding. Some mediators require both parties to retain “consulting attorneys.” The consulting attorney’s role may be limited to reviewing proposed settlement agreements and advising you or your spouse about the law and how your proposed agreement may impact your legal rights.
The mediator can explain the divorce process and guide a discussion to help resolve issues. The mediator cannot decide anything for the parties – the divorcing spouses themselves will make all decisions and agreements. The mediator will help to identify issues, help you and your spouse negotiate, and work with you to resolve all of the issues in your divorce case such as division of marital property and debts, spousal support, child support, and parenting plans. The divorcing couple communicates with each other directly, in the presence of the mediator, and decides together what information to review and what outside experts to involve.
Divorce mediation can be used either as the only conflict resolution approach or in conjunction with the collaborative process to resolve specific issues that would be left to a judge in a contested divorce in Kansas City. For more information, contact a Collaborative Practice team member at 913-380-2560 or click here.