This is a negotiated process where you and your partner/spouse hire a neutral third party mediator, usually an attorney, to negotiate and work through all the issues that need to be resolved to end your marriage or resolve your disputes. Best Law Firm provides this kinder, gentler approach to resolving family disputes.

The parties come to the office, where they meet together or in separate areas. Mediation is conducted in a comfortable office atmosphere. Sometimes parties can make all their agreements in one meeting; sometimes it takes several meetings over a period of months.

Best Law Firm can also provide document preparation services to document the decisions made during the mediation. A Memorandum of Understanding is included in the price of the mediation, so the parties have a signed, legally enforceable settlement outlining their agreements. Parties can choose to mediate either before or after they file for the divorce. If you choose mediation prior to the court filing, you can make decisions in your own time frame. Once you file for dissolution, you must follow all the court rules, and you could be required to go to court before you are ready.

The court must set an Early Resolution Management Conference (if neither party has an attorney) or a Resolution Management Conference (if at least one party has an attorney) shortly after you file, so unless you have settled by that date, the court will require you to appear in court and file the required resolution statement before your court hearing. To avoid any rush, you might want to consider mediation before you file. After the mediation, our office can then help you file all the documents required for starting the proceedings and for finalizing your divorce (such as the decree, the property settlement agreement, the parenting agreement, the child support worksheet and the spousal maintenance worksheet as explained in Chapter 8).

It is imperative that you know what you are legally entitled to, before you can make an educated request for what you want. There will be some give-and-take and some negotiated points, but there are certain black-and-white issues that are not negotiable, even if you go to court.

For instance, it is black letter law that you are entitled to half of any deferred compensation plan that was earned during the marriage. The negotiations, however, may end up giving one partner all of a retirement plan in exchange for an equal or almost equal asset, such as a car or house. The pie needs to be divided equitably when all is said and done, but who gets what piece is what negotiation is all about. Sometimes, neither party wants the pie divided exactly down the middle. It is important to choose a mediator who knows Arizona law.

Next: Frequently Asked Questions

Can traditional document preparation services help me? Document preparation services cannot provide you with legal advice. So, unless you know the law and the procedures, you could make some devastating mistakes by filling out forms without understanding your rights. Best Law Firm’s document preparation is conducted by an experienced attorney. How much does document preparation...

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