Mediation of the issues involved in legal separation reduces emotional stress. Couples make informed decisions about property rights, debts, custody, and support with the help of a professional mediator — avoiding the hostility and expense likely with two adversarial lawyers.
Legal separation ends community property rights and obligations but preserves the marital relationship. For example, when legally separated, each spouse’s income is his or her sole and separate property, and one spouse can no longer obligate the other for any debt he or she incurs. Divorce, on the other hand, (whether in Arizona or in any other state) ends the marital relationship as well as community property rights and obligations.
Mediation of legal separation occurs in the same way and typically involves the same issues as divorce mediation. Couples work together with a professional mediator to reach agreements concerning division of assets (such as real estate, investment accounts, and retirement benefits), allocation of debts, child and/or spousal support, and parenting arrangements for minor children.
Mediators have different backgrounds and experience. Each mediator at Out-of-Court Solutions is experienced in law, psychology, and business, and makes sure that divorcing couples fully understand all of the legal, financial, parenting, and other issues involved in their situation. Our mediators also help couples effectively communicate and negotiate, explore alternative ways of resolving disagreements, and deal with the anger, sadness and other emotions common to separation and divorce. After the couple has decided everything, our mediators prepare a comprehensive and legally binding settlement agreement.
In mediation, separating couples do not surrender control to attorneys or a judge. Our mediators provide the legal, financial, parenting, and other information needed to make fully informed decisions – and the separating couple decides what is best for them based on their particular relationship, needs, and standards. Mediation takes place in a safe, collaborative environment, and is significantly less stressful than adversarial, win-lose, court-based proceedings.
Legally separating couples typically spend less than $3200 for everything from start to finish. This is very inexpensive compared to using two separate lawyers, who require retainers of no less than $3500 to $5000 from each spouse (or together $7000 to $10,000) just to get started — and according to The Wall Street Journal usually winds up costing couples $27,000 or more.
With their education and experience in counseling psychology, as well as law, our mediators are dedicated to helping parents focus on the best interests of their children. Mediation through Out-of-Court Solutions reduces parental anger, increases parental communication, and produces durable parenting arrangements.
When one spouse is in physical danger, or is unwilling to participate in good faith, mediation would be inappropriate.
These agreements often serve as a foundation for resolution of other issues and overall agreement, expediting the mediation, further reducing the cost.
We can get your Legal Separation paperwork through the court within 90 days!
Step 1: Begins when we prepare your first set of legal documents, and ends when these documents are filed with the court and returned to our office – all usually within 5 days or less.
Because Arizona is a “no-fault” divorce state, there is absolutely no legal significance as to which spouse is the “Petitioner” (the one who initiates the divorce or legal separation) versus the “Respondent” (the one who responds to the Petition).
Step 2: Arizona’s 60-day mandatory waiting period begins when the Respondent signs an Acceptance of Service form, and ends 60 days thereafter.
Because of Arizona’s 60-day mandatory waiting period, many of our clients begin the court process near the beginning of mediation.
Step 3: Begins when we prepare and file your second and final set of legal documents with the court and ends when a Judge signs a Consent Decree for legal separation by agreement – all usually within 20 days.
Because we prepare an all-inclusive settlement agreement (request a divorce settlement agreement sample), we guarantee that the Judge will approve your legal separation!
We are very proud of our success rate: over 95% of the couples who mediate with Out-of-Court Solutions reach full agreement; the few that do not are protected because under Arizona law anything said or prepared for mediation is strictly confidential and barred from use in court.
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