The International Association
For Mediated Divorce
An International Network Of Mediators Dedicated To Supporting And Facilitating Self-represented Couples Through The Transition Of Divorce
Sometimes a divorcing person thinks that the only way to get in front of a judge for a divorce is to hire an attorney. But, hiring an attorney is just one option. Another option is to fill-in and file your paperwork on your own. Or, you and your spouse can hire a mediator who can help you reach an agreement and prepare you for an uncontested divorce.
Option #1 – The Traditional/Attorney-driven Divorce. Hiring an attorney is your best option if you need legal protection from your spouse or if your spouse has already retained a lawyer. If you are unaware of what the marital assets are or how much your spouse earns a divorce attorney can investigate all of these details. Additionally, if you feel intimidated as the result of domestic violence or coercion, negotiating without a divorce lawyer is a bad idea. You can find a lawyer through your local and state Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service. Contact your local or state Bar Association.
Option #2 – The Collaborative Divorce. This version of the Traditional/Attorney-driven Divorce involves both you and your spouse hiring attorneys trained in the Collaborative process. These attorneys will still investigate and negotiate for you but if your negotiations fail these attorneys will not take you through the litigation process. You would have to start over with traditional attorneys. One positive aspect of this process is that – since the lawyers are not preparing for litigation – they will agree upon and share experts.
Option #3 – Do It Yourself (DIY) Divorce. If your situation is uncomplicated, you may want to fill in all of the forms you will need for your divorce and file them with the court on your own. In many states the forms are available on-line, for free. Additionally, you may be able to buy form packets at your courthouse. And, many courthouses provide self-help assistance.
Option #4 – Pre-suit Mediation. The third option involves the hiring of a mediator before attorneys are retained or any documents are filed. This option is often chosen by couples that want to save time/money and side-step the negative nature of an attorney-driven divorce but still believe that they need the assistance of a knowledgeable professional. This is called Pro-se/Pre-suit Divorce Mediation. (Pro-se means unrepresented – or without lawyers) and Pre-suit means before a law suit has been filed.) Mediators that offer Pro-se/Pre-suit mediation are trained to guide divorcing couples towards agreement, an uncontested divorce, and a friendlier future. As part of this process, you and your spouse may also consult with (versus retain or hire) attorneys, accountants, or other experts who can give you their professional opinions.
The International Association For Mediated Divorce is an international network of mediators dedicated to supporting and facilitating self-represented couples through the transition of divorce. These are mediators who provide Pro-se/Pre-suit divorce mediation and document preparation services. There is a lot of variety in how these mediators operate their practices but all of them can guide you through the process of divorce.
Typically, the mediation process takes between two and ten hours, depending on the issues and the personalities involved. Many divorces are mediated in a single session and sometimes the process is spread out over time. The end result of the mediation process is the creation of a customized Mediated Marital Settlement Agreement. This agreement will cover future parenting plans (if there are minor children) and how finances will be handled during and after the divorce.