Mediation/Collaborative Divorce in St. Louis
Mediation may be used as an alternative to some phases of the formal processes followed in a divorce action in court.
However, a court filing is required to implement any final agreement reached in mediation.
In mediation, both parties meet with a neutral third party, most often an attorney who has received a certification to serve as a mediator.
You and your spouse have the opportunity to discuss issues and come to a mutual agreement.
Customarily, and by an agreement signed as part of the mediation process, the information gathered and statements made during the process are not to be used in any later contested court case between the parties.
A lawyer-mediator does not advocate for either of the spouses, but instead provides guidance through the issues and the legal process necessary to implement the agreement.
The mediator works with them to resolve the disputes which arise during the discussions.
If the mediator helps the spouses to resolve all of the issues, the mediator can help prepare the necessary papers to present the agreement to the court.
The finalized agreement must be presented to the court along with affidavits for the court to review and approve or reject.
Most often an agreement reached by the parties will be approved by the court, occasionally it is rejected by the court.
Mediation can be started before anything is filed with the court, or the parties can be “referred” to mediation by the court after the case is filed.
Mediation may be best used as a response to a divorce case in which your spouse has hired an ineffective or overly aggressive attorney who lacks the skills or philosophy to place the interests of their client first.
Cavanagh and Associates does not endorse or oppose the formal mediation process. The term “mediation” refers to the formal court-approved process for negotiating a resolution of the case.
Mediation in and of itself is not a bad process.
Cavanagh Law’s philosophy is rooted in the long term interests of the client.
Most clients are best served by a process which seeks to quickly gather necessary information, followed by intensive efforts to negotiate a resolution which is fair and reasonable.
“Collaborative Divorce” is a relatively new term used by some professionals.
Cavanagh and Associates believes that the term can be enticing, but it is somewhat misleading.
As practiced in our area, it may lead to higher costs and the consumption of resources in a process which is too rigid, fractured or formalized.
While not impugning the motives or ethics of any attorney or other professional who may advance the use of it, our attorneys somewhat reluctantly reject the current process of “Collaborative Divorce” as practiced in our area.
Cavanagh and Associates has always focused on the counseling and litigation skills of its attorneys to efficiently and effectively resolve the disputes in a marriage which is ending.
We focus on the issues in dispute and counsel our clients on the most rational tactics and methods to resolve those disputes.
If an ugly fight cannot be avoided, we have the skill and experience to win such a fight.