Saturday, November 21, 2009 at 11:06AM
Articles on the problems relating to divorce brought to you by The Law Practice of Kelly Koch
In these tough economic times, where people are trying to save money and want to have an amicable divorce, an excellent way to do this is through a pre-divorce mediation package. I have handled several of these successfully, and would like to explain how it works.
Both the husband and wife meet with an attorney who specializes in family law and is also certified as a mediator, as are all of the attorneys at Gornbein Smith Peskin-Shepherd. An agreement is reached at the first meeting that the attorney will be acting as a mediator and will not be representing either the husband or wife in the divorce. The role of the attorney will be to meet with the parties to cover all issues in the divorce in an effort to help them resolve everything in an amicable fashion.
Normally, the way I do this, is to have a meeting, have an agreement drawn up with the understanding that I, as the attorney, will be acting solely as a mediator, cannot represent either one of them, and will work with them to cover all issues in an amicable fashion through a series of meetings. I then will outline in detail the key issues in any divorce. These consist of child related issues including custody and parenting time. They include child support, medical insurance, medical expenses, spousal support/alimony, and division of property.
The division of property will include the marital home, any savings, investments, 401Ks, pensions, automobiles, personal property, and any other assets. It will also include, especially in these tough economic times, how debts are to be handled, including credit cards, home equity lines, and the mortgage if the house has a negative equity.
Each party is given homework to come up with lists of all assets and liabilities, an affidavit is prepared so that there is protection as far as having everything under oath regarding assets and liabilities. Through a series of meetings every one of the issues in a divorce will be discussed in an effort to resolve them.
If a resolution becomes impossible through mediation, then the mediator steps out of the case, and the parties would then retain attorneys to litigate in a more traditional fashion. In the event that the mediation works, and every issue is resolved, then a settlement agreement is drafted. I ask that each party have the settlement agreement reviewed by an attorney of each party’s choosing. I have handled cases where we have pre-packaged everything, and I have drafted pleadings for each party to appear In Pro Per (without attorneys), where a Complaint is drafted, a proposed property settlement and Judgment are drafted, and these are all reviewed by independent counsel.
The parties then go through the system without the need for attorneys or additional expense, other than the normal divorce filing fees, while I act as a neutral mediator monitoring them through the system, again with the understanding that all documents are to be reviewed by an independent attorneys of husband and wife’s own choice. I have found that this is an effective means of resolving a divorce where people are trying to handle things n a very simple and amicable, cost-effective fashion. In this economy, this is a way to get divorced while minimizing the legal cost, the emotional cost, along with the time spent in the legal system, with court appearances being kept to a minimum.
HENRY S. GORNBEIN
on behalf of GORNBEIN SMITH PESKIN-SHEPHERD
Article originally appeared on Divorce Online | Divorce Resources | Legal, Financial & Counseling (http://www.divorceonline.com/)
Corpus Christi Divorce Attorney Kelly Koch
1402 N Chaparral St
Corpus Christi Texas 78401
Phone: 361 882-8000