St. Louis Mediation Lawyer
Alternative Resolutions to Divorce in Missouri
As a St. Louis attorney with well over half of a century of legal experience, Jack Cavanagh has a thorough understanding of mediation and collaborative divorce. When you call our firm for a consultation, we can talk to you about these approaches and can offer insight as to how they may impact your divorce. As always, we will be honest and straightforward so you can make the right choices about your case.
What is Mediation & How Does it Apply to Divorce?
In recent years, “collaborative divorce” and mediation have gained some attention as alternatives to traditional divorce proceedings. These can offer some advantages, but they can also be misleading. It is important to fully understand the implications of these alternatives before attempting such an approach.
The term “mediation” refers to the formal court-approved process for negotiating a resolution of the case. Mediation may be used as an alternative to some phases of the formal processes followed in a divorce action in court. With mediation, you and your spouse have the opportunity to discuss issues and come to a mutual agreement. Often viewed as a more amicable approach to divorce, mediation may provide some benefits by reducing stress and cost, but this will vary on a case by case basis.
At Cavanagh & Associates, we do not endorse or oppose the formal mediation process. Mediation may be best used as a response to a divorce case in which your spouse has hired an ineffective or overly aggressive attorney who lacks the skills or philosophy to place the interests of their client first.
What Can I Expect From Divorce Mediation Services?
Mediation can be started before anything is filed with the court, or the parties can be “referred” to mediation by the court after the case is filed. However, a court filing is required to implement any final agreement reached in mediation. Customarily, and by an agreement signed as part of the mediation process, the information gathered and statements made during the process are not to be used in any later contested court case between the parties.
The Missouri divorce mediation process typically proceeds as follows:
- In mediation, both parties meet with a neutral third party, most often an attorney who has received a certification to serve as a mediator.
- A lawyer-mediator does not advocate for either of the spouses, but instead provides guidance through the issues and the legal process necessary to implement the agreement.
- The mediator works with them to resolve the disputes which arise during the discussions.
- If the mediator helps the spouses to resolve all of the issues, the mediator can help prepare the necessary papers to present the agreement to the court.
- The finalized agreement must be presented to the court along with affidavits for the court to review and approve or reject.
- Most often an agreement reached by the parties will be approved by the court, but occasionally it is rejected by the court.
At Cavanagh & Associates, our philosophy is rooted in the long-term interests of our clients. Most clients are best served by a process which seeks to quickly gather necessary information, followed by intensive efforts to negotiate a resolution which is fair and reasonable. If you are considering mediation or want to learn more about this approach to divorce in St. Louis, St. Charles, or Chesterfield, we welcome you to contact our offices for additional information.
Avoiding Collaborative Divorce
“Collaborative Divorce” is a relatively new term used by some professionals. We believe that the term can be enticing, but it is somewhat misleading. As practiced in our area, it may lead to higher costs and the consumption of resources in a process which is too rigid, fractured, or formalized.
While not impugning the motives or ethics of any attorney or another professional who may advance the use of it, we somewhat reluctantly reject the current process of “collaborative divorce” as practiced in our area. Cavanagh & Associates has always focused on our counseling and litigation skills to efficiently and effectively resolve the disputes in a marriage that is ending. We focus on the family law issues in dispute and counsel our clients on the most rational tactics and methods to resolve those disputes.
If an ugly fight cannot be avoided, St. Louis divorce lawyer Jack Cavanagh has the skill and experience to win such a fight.
“I would recommend Mr. Cavanagh as well as use him again in the future.”- Former Client
“Truth will always prevail.”- Mr. Callaway
“Great Team! Highly Recommended.”- Donald Salisbury