Family law and mediation in divorce proceedings

February is here and with it comes a rise in the number of engagements thanks in part to Valentine’s Day being a popular time to get engaged. No one beginning the journey of engagement and marriage wants to consider the possibility of divorce, but even though the overall divorce rate is down, a significant percentage of Louisiana marriages still end in divorce. As with so many other things, the process of obtaining a divorce has evolved over time to include different options that a family law professional will be familiar with.

While some divorces still present very contentious situations that may require drawn out legal proceedings to reach a settlement, it is not uncommon that two people can work together to reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Mediation is one such option for people who may find themselves in that situation. Mediation may work well for two people who agree on most of the issues that need to be resolved in a divorce.

Mediation involves working with a third party who, as the name implies, is there to help mediate discussions and answer questions that may arise. A mediator is often a retired attorney or judge, but his or her function does not include offering legal advice. For mediation to be successful, both parties must be willing to disclose all financial and other pertinent information. If the couple can work together in this way, it can reduce the time needed to work with attorneys to finalize a settlement and thereby reduce the cost.

The decision to end a marriage is not an easy one and is typically not undertaken lightly. If a couple has mutually decided that the marriage should end mediation is a good option. Each party should still have an attorney for purposes of reviewing any settlement agreement as it is a legal and binding document. A person considering divorce in Louisiana may wish to consult with a family law attorney who is familiar with the mediation process.