Now, as an up-and-coming Tulsa family law attorney, Preston Bennett sees things with a different angle of vision.
“I don’t see divorce mediation or compromise as being dirty words,” Preston Bennett said. “The concept that many have of a trial curing all of your ills is a little like a TV and movie myth. Now that I have been in the profession for a few years, I can honestly say that the majority of the time, it’s better to make a deal knowing what you will get, rather than rolling the dice with a judge in the courtroom.”
Although Fry & Elder attorneys have excelled in trial and in the courtroom dealing with an array of family law issues such a divorce, child custody, and child support, there is merit to Bennett’s newfound ideology.
Defining Divorce Mediation in Oklahoma
Mediation in the context of divorce refers to a process in which a neutral third party, known as a mediator, assists divorcing couples in reaching agreements on various issues related to their separation.
Bennett believes the ultimate goal of divorce mediation is to facilitate communication and cooperation between the parties, helping them to work together to find mutually acceptable solutions, rather than relying on the court to make decisions for them.
In fact, mediation in Tulsa County is generally required before the court will give you a trial date. Also mediators do not gather information that’s why you need a good attorney to properly prepare you with the documents and fax that are necessary to be persuasive during the mediation process.
Divorce mediation in Oklahoma can work in many ways, but here is how one often works:
- Neutral Mediator:
- The mediator is a trained and impartial professional who does not take sides or make decisions for the couple.
- The mediator’s role is to guide the discussion, foster effective communication, and help the couple explore and generate their own solutions.
- Voluntary Process:
- Mediation is generally a voluntary process, meaning that both parties must agree to participate.
- It provides a less adversarial alternative to traditional litigation, allowing couples to have more control over the outcome.
- Identifying Issues:
- The mediator helps the couple identify and prioritize the issues that need resolution, such as child custody, child support, spousal support, and the division of assets and debts.
- Open Communication:
- During mediation sessions, the parties have the opportunity to express their concerns, needs, and preferences openly.
- The mediator facilitates a constructive dialogue, ensuring that both parties have the chance to be heard.
- Generating Options:
- The mediator assists the couple in brainstorming and generating potential solutions to the issues at hand.
- This collaborative process encourages creativity and flexibility in finding resolutions that meet the needs of both parties.
- Agreement and Documentation:
- When the couple reaches agreements on all relevant issues, the mediator helps formalize these agreements into a legally binding document, often called a mediation agreement or settlement agreement.
- Legal Review and Filing:
- While the mediator may provide information about legal principles, it is advisable for each party to consult with their own attorney to review the proposed agreement before signing.
- Once signed, the agreement can be submitted to the court for approval, finalizing the divorce.
What Are The Benefits of Divorce Mediation in Oklahoma?
Mediation in divorce offers various benefits for couples seeking an amicable and efficient resolution to their marital issues. Here are some key advantages:
- Reduced Conflict: Mediation promotes open communication and cooperation, helping to minimize hostility and conflict between spouses. The neutral mediator assists in managing emotions and finding common ground, leading to a more amicable resolution.
- Cost Savings: Mediation is often more cost-effective than traditional litigation. It typically involves fewer billable hours for attorneys and avoids the expenses associated with court appearances, filings, and lengthy legal proceedings.
- Time Efficiency: Mediation can be a quicker process compared to court-based divorce. Since the parties are actively involved in discussions and decision-making, they can reach agreements faster, reducing the overall time it takes to finalize the divorce.
- Greater Control and Flexibility: In mediation, couples have more control over the outcome. They actively participate in shaping agreements on issues such as child custody, asset division, and support. This flexibility allows for personalized solutions that may better suit the needs of the family.
- Confidentiality: Mediation sessions are private and confidential. This confidentiality encourages open and honest communication between spouses, as they can freely discuss their concerns without fear that their statements will be used against them in court.
- Customized Solutions: Mediation allows for creative and customized solutions to specific family issues. Since the parties are actively engaged in problem-solving, they can craft agreements that better address their unique circumstances and priorities.
- Emphasis on Communication Skills: Mediation often helps improve communication skills between spouses. The process encourages listening, understanding, and effective communication, which can be valuable not only during the divorce but also in future interactions, especially if there are ongoing co-parenting responsibilities.
- Less Emotional Toll: The collaborative nature of mediation can reduce the emotional toll on both parties. It provides a supportive environment that focuses on finding solutions rather than escalating conflicts, leading to a potentially smoother emotional transition for everyone involved.
Preston Bennett highlights that while mediation has many benefits, it may not be suitable for all cases, especially those involving domestic violence, significant power imbalances, or extreme hostility. Each divorce case is unique, and couples should carefully consider their own circumstances and preferences when deciding on the appropriate approach.
Why Experience the Fry & Elder Difference?
The Fry & Elder name has been synonymous with Oklahoma legal excellence since 1932. Our team of attorneys are well-versed in divorce mediation, and we also have successfully defended and fought for our clients for decades.
Our commitment to excellence has not gone unnoticed. The firm has been named to the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Law Firms List every year since 2014. Preparation and the desire to give our clients the best representation possible are the motivating factors that enable us to be better informed and prepared than other attorneys. Contact Fry & Elder today to set up a personal consultation with Preston Bennett or another one of our experienced attorneys.