In mediation, a neutral third-party called a mediator acts as a referee between you and your spouse. Mediation can be a low conflict way to settle difficult family law issues with your spouse. Successful mediation can cut your legal costs and save you time and stress.

Mediation can be extremely valuable in contested divorces. The goal of mediation is for spouses to agree on as many issues as possible. There are two types of mediation available in Maricopa County. Mediation may be arranged privately for a fee. Maricopa County Superior Court offers mediation for child custody and parenting time through Conciliation Services.

Private Mediation

Private mediation is available to you and your spouse at an additional cost. The cost of private mediation ranges in price and is normally split between the spouses. In many cases, private mediation pays for itself if the spouses can agree on even a few issues. The benefits of participating in private mediation may include solving the following issues:

  • Child custody and parenting time
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Property division
  • Debt division
  • Child support

With private mediation, it is possible to solve all issues related to your divorce and avoid having to appear in court.

The benefits of participating in court-ordered mediation include solving child custody and parenting time issues at a minimal cost. In Maricopa County, you or your spouse may request the court to order mediation or the court can order mediation on its own. Court-ordered mediation is available at a nominal fee but is limited to child custody and parenting time issues. Maricopa County offers court-ordered mediation through its Conciliation Court.

Conciliation Services is an important part of the Family Law Division of the Maricopa County Superior Court. Conciliation Services provide support for people who are trying to decide or have decided to divorce. Conciliation Services offer trained mediators who provide thoughtful and educated advice regarding child custody and parenting time.

One difference between Conciliation Services mediation and private mediation is your family law attorney will not be able to attend your Conciliation Services mediation. In most cases, with the exception of cases involving domestic violence, only you and your spouse will be able to participate. In private mediation, family law attorneys are able to participate.

Another difference between court-ordered and private mediation is when the mediation will take place. Court-ordered mediation is provided by the Conciliation Court and is typically very busy. It can take longer for you and your spouse to attend a court-ordered mediation. Private mediation is normally much more flexible and may be attended much sooner.

Consulting with a family law attorney may help you determine whether private or court-ordered mediation is a good idea. In some cases, you and your spouse may agree on all terms of your divorce and leave nothing for the court to decide. If you and your spouse can agree on even a few issues, you can drastically reduce your costs, time and stress.

Purpose of Mediation

The purpose of mediation is to limit the issues left for the court to decide. Mediation can also provide you with a fair opinion of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. What is said in mediation remains confidential. Mediation can help you and your spouse agree on legal decision-making for your children, create realistic parenting plans, and settle property division fairly.

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