Hypothetically, let’s discuss the situation with David and Christina, who have been married for 12 years and have two children, DJ, age 10, and Eliza, age 6. ?David has been employed as a computer technician for most of the marriage and Christina is a teacher who has her summers off. ?They bought a house eight years ago and the mortgage is $1,200 per month. ?David moved into a small apartment three months ago. ?Christina also inherited $18,000 from her uncle Huck three years ago that she used to buy her car, a Volvo SUV. ?David has vehicle with a loan, Christina has a retirement plan with the state of Arizona and David has almost no retirement, because they had a medical emergency three years ago for DJ’s fractured leg, suffered in a ski accident. ?They also incurred an additional $8,000 in MasterCard debt when Christiana took time off to care for DJ.
Both David and Christina have their differences and they have both decided that they need to get divorced. ?They are able to talk together, but they just do not agree on what they should do about custody, child support, the house and their debt. ?They are not even sure what custody is all about. ?What happens with the pension? ?How do they get it divided? ?Who pays child support and how do they pay it? ?Who pays for Eliza’s piano lessons and summer soccer camp for both kids? ?Who has to pay back the MasterCard debt? ?Can David expect Christina to help pay rent for his apartment?
Because David and Christiana have decided that they cannot each afford to pay for an attorney and they cannot afford to litigate and argue about the decisions that they have to make, they have set up a meeting at Best Law Firm. ?The ?attorney meets with David and Christiana together, and they sign the mediation agreement and pay the mediation fee. ?After that, the real work begins. ?They all work together, outlining parenting and financial issues. ?The mediator will provide the parties with pertinent legal statutes that may apply to their issues. ?Remember that anything the parties say in mediation cannot be used against them in court; it is a confidential process. ?It is decided at the first meeting that both David and Christina need to get copies of various documents: ?the retirement plan, pay stubs, tax returns, credit card statements and so on. ?All financial documents must be disclosed, so that each party is aware of the assets and liabilities of the party under Family Law Rule 49.
At the second meeting, the parties and the mediator are able to resolve all the issues. ?The mediator drafts a Rule 69 agreement and the parties sign it and leave the office. ?The mediator then uses that agreement to draft the pertinent legal documents. ?For David and Christina, that includes a Joint Parenting Agreement, a Property Settlement Agreement, and a Decree. ?David and Christina had decided to make all of these decisions before actually filing for divorce. ?Once the court receives the initial filings, it will be a minimum of 60 days before a judge will sign any final decree or other documents. ?The parties must also attend a mandatory parenting class and file the certificate with the court before their decree will be approved.
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