What is Conciliation?
A conciliation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that couples can choose to pursue rather than, or concurrently with, divorce. Other common forms of alternative dispute resolution include mediation, arbitration, and negotiation. All of these methods have a common goal of allowing the couple to form a reasonable agreement on issues and terminate the marriage rather than choosing a mainstream divorce through litigation only.
Who Facilitates Conciliation?
It is common for family law attorneys or retired judges to facilitate conciliation. The reason for this is due to the legal advice that the conciliation requires. Generally speaking, throughout the process, experience or knowledge of how courts will rule is vital to a successful conciliation process. It allows both parties to understand what a reasonable outcome may be so they can change their perspectives accordingly and as necessary.
One of the most critical aspects of those that facilitate conciliation is their ability to mediate essential issues at hand. It goes without saying that important topics in divorce mediation or conciliation are rooted in powerful emotions. Common topics may include the distribution of assets, child custody, child support, and more. All of these can invoke intense emotions, which the facilitator will have to navigate and ensure that a reasonable outcome is met for both parties.
How To Best Prepare for Divorce Conciliation
There are a few items to consider for both parties when pursuing divorce conciliation. Being adequately prepared can shorten the process and provide clarity for both parties from the beginning, making the process less stressful for all involved.
One way to best be prepared is to realize that the conciliation may involve several sessions to achieve the desired outcome. Understanding that patience is key allows both parties to enter into divorce conciliation with realistic expectations and avoid unnecessary stress.
Gather necessary financial documents. This initial step can help the facilitator form a clear picture of both parties’ financial situations and understand why their wishes exist based on their economic positions.
Some important documents you may want to gather are current tax returns, pay stubs or W-2s, mortgage and other loan information, credit card statements, individual and joint assets statements, and joint bank account information. Other essential items may be vehicle ownership documents, personal debts for both parties, inheritance information, previous court orders such as custody or alimony, and more.
Another aspect to consider is essential items relative to the children involved. These documents can reflect significant health issues that are of concern and will require ongoing management, which can affect the outcome of the divorce. Academic information may be relative, too, based on educational needs or sports/extracurricular activity schedules.
Marriage certificates, prenuptial agreements, life insurance policies, pension information, wills and trusts documents, and more are all important items that can aid in the streamlining of conciliation meetings as well.
How Much is Divorce Conciliation and Who Pays For It?
Typically, divorce conciliation is significantly less in costs vs. litigation. This is due to the opportunity to drive costs based on your schedules and preparedness rather than court schedules and litigation costs. Pursuing the conciliation process can significantly shorten the amount of time in divorce court and, therefore, the costs associated with divorce.
It is common for both parties to share the costs associated with conciliation. However, one party can choose to cover the costs entirely. Funding the process does not sway the outcome for either party, which is important to note.
Another Benefit of Conciliation
A critical benefit of conciliation is the ability to handle the process virtually typically. This allows more flexibility in scheduling for both parties and the facilitator. What once required in-person meetings, most can be done virtually now, from your home or office or while traveling, to ensure all parties can fit the sessions into their schedules and not fall behind.
Your Tireless Advocate When It Matters Most
Divorce can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You can pursue several solutions to help avoid unnecessary stress, such as mediation, conciliation, and more. Alternative dispute resolution offers an appealing option for couples that can’t come to a reasonable agreement on important topics before finalizing the divorce.
By entering into a conciliation process, stressful topics can be dissected, professionally overseen by a neutral third party, and negotiated through an invaluable skill experienced legal professionals possess.
Attorney Martino is an experienced and compassionate family law attorney who also has vast experience in Alternative Dispute Resolution. This skillset lends itself well to options such as conciliation and more, providing you with the care and determination that are necessary when approaching divorce.
Alternative Dispute Resolution experience provides Attorney Martino with the necessary tools to skillfully listen to both parties’ wishes and provide experienced and trusted feedback on what strengths and weaknesses either party’s perspectives may have. This feedback also allows each party to have a realistic expectation of the outcome they may face based on the issues at hand or what further means may be necessary before approaching divorce court.
The bottom line is that we respect how cautious you may be regarding the decision to divorce. Conciliation can be an excellent option with all perspectives respectfully considered and a reasonable outcome for both parties as a result.
Contact our office today at (781) 531-8673 to learn more about your options and how we can help you and your family move forward to the next chapter of life. We offer potential clients a free, confidential, and consultative case evaluation. We look forward to serving you.