New Orleans Divorce Mediation Lawyers
Experienced mediation lawyers serving New Orleans and Louisiana
Legal representation is much more than explaining your rights and litigating every issue. It’s always hard on the spouses and any children when a marriage ends. There are apt to be strong feelings, including anger and anxiety. Fortunately, in New Orleans, there is an emphasis on trying to resolve your marital disputes in a friendlier, less expensive way than a full-scale court battle. Some divorce disputes can be settled through the lawyers directly. Many disputes, especially if there are children or significant assets, require a process called “mediation.”
Divorce mediation uses a skilled mediator to help facilitate a divorce. At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans family lawyers understand when the mediation process is advisable. We’ll explain the advantages and disadvantages of mediation. We are skilled at ensuring a final mediation agreement contains all the necessary provisions to protect your interests and those of your children. Contact our divorce attorneys in New Orleans to get started.
How can we help?
- When should I consider divorce mediation?
- How does the divorce mediation process work?
- What happens when the mediation is over?
- How can our skilled New Orleans mediation lawyers help?
- What are the advantages of divorce mediation in New Orleans?
- What are the disadvantages of divorce mediation in New Orleans?
- Do you have a mediation lawyer near me?
When should I consider divorce mediation?
Mediation is advisable if you and your spouse want to resolve your divorce issues in a friendly way, but aren’t quite agreed on how to go about it. You should also consider divorce mediation if you have substantial assets, or if you own a business (especially if you are beholden to shareholders). Mediation is also a good idea if you have children: not only can it ease some of your stress, but it has the added benefit of showing your children the importance of compromise.
There are times, however, where mediation may not be in your best interest. If your spouse has a history of abuse, or has engaged in other fraudulent or criminal actions, mediation may not be for you. If either spouse is just so angry that he or she wants to dispute every issue to the fullest, then mediation almost certainly won’t work.
How does the divorce mediation process work?
The mediation process begins with the selection of a mediator. The mediator must be neutral. Both spouses and their lawyers will need to agree on the selection of the mediator. The mediator should be someone with experience in resolving divorce disputes. There is no requirement that the mediator is an attorney. Our New Orleans divorce lawyers work with numerous mediators. We understand which mediators will be neutral, and which mediators have the experience and skills to competently reach solutions.
Generally, mediations begin with both spouses stating their positions and concerns. During the mediation, it is common for you and your lawyer to be in one room and for your spouse and his/her lawyer to be in another room. The mediator then moves from room to room to try to understand the disputes and forge a solution. The mediator should be able to suggest solutions and alternative solutions. The mediation process can involve multiple sessions. A skilled mediator understands how all the divorce issues relate to each other. For example, mediators understand that it is essential for children to have as much stability in their lives as possible because divorce is traumatic for everyone. This means the mediator will seek to facilitate an agreement so that the children will stay in the marital home, attend the same school, and participate in the same activities.
It may also be possible to negotiate more or less support in return for obtaining more or less property. Often, it makes sense if you or your spouse has a business, to keep that business going so that you/your spouse also has an income. An income means that you or your spouse will be able to pay child support and spousal support on a regular basis.
What happens when the mediation is over?
The mediator’s decisions are not binding. You and your spouse must agree before any disputed issue is taken off the table. If the marital issues can be resolved, then the mediator will prepare an agreement. Both lawyers can review and suggest changes to the agreement.
If the mediator can resolve some, but not all of the disputes, then the resolved disputes are set forth in writing. Any open disputes are then sent to the Judge to decide the issues. The Judge will only know about the disputes that are agreed to in writing. All other disputes will be heard without any input from the mediator.
If the mediation does not succeed, your next likely step will be litigation.
What are the advantages of divorce mediation in New Orleans?
Some of the many advantages of divorce mediation that our New Orleans family law mediation lawyers will review with you include:
- Mediation is less costly than a trial
- Mediation is less contentious than a trial
- The mediation negotiations are confidential – nothing that is discussed at the negotiations can be used in court, unless there is a mutual agreement
- You and your spouse control when the mediation sessions take place
Generally, the lines of communication between spouses are much more open at a mediation session than at a court hearing. Mediation sessions also help to keep your children out of the courtroom. Many mediation sessions do result in complete settlements of all the family law issues.
What are the disadvantages of divorce mediation in New Orleans?
Mediation generally doesn’t work when one or both spouses isn’t willing to negotiate in good faith. Mediation doesn’t work if your spouse is hiding assets or being untruthful. If your spouse is not being cooperative, you’ll need our help to obtain a court order to force your spouse to disclose his/her assets, the true value of a business or other assets, his/her real income, and other information.
How can our skilled mediation lawyers help?
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, we prepare for each mediation session in advance. This means understanding your goals and priorities. It means understanding the value of your assets and debts – and those of your spouse. Preparation includes reviewing what questions you’re likely to be asked. Preparation includes having the right documents. There are many other issues we review depending on the disputes and your personal circumstances.
At the mediation, we work with the mediator to ensure he/she has all the information needed to help resolve the disputes in your favor. We are skilled at helping forge agreements that last. If you have children, the child custody and child support part of the agreement should protect you and your children until they reach adulthood – and even then some additional protections may be needed such as tuition for college or funds if your child has special needs.
We work to create agreements that will allow you and your spouse to move forward with your lives without running into court repeatedly. Our New Orleans mediation lawyers work to address many practical issues such as tax issues, when you receive checks from your spouse’s retirement benefits, and many other issues.
Do you have a mediation lawyer near me?
The Law Office of James A. Graham is located in New Orleans and serves all of South Louisiana.
For clients who are unable to travel, we can schedule phone or video conferences when needed.
Speak with our trusted New Orleans mediation lawyers today
At the Law Office of James A. Graham, our New Orleans mediation lawyers understand the unique challenges and rewards of using the mediation process. We are respected by mediators, family lawyers, and most importantly our clients for our ability to obtain secure and strong results for our family law clients. Our firm is known throughout the state for our work on behalf of clients. To speak with a respected family lawyer, call us or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation in New Orleans.