In an ideal world, spouses who are going through a divorce would resolve all their differences in a reasonably amicable manner. Everything from property division to spousal support, to the raising of children, would be worked in a way where both spouses felt comfortable with the agreement—and, just as important, had the opportunity to give their own consent to it. While the ideal does not always come to fruition, the mediation process is intended to give the ideal its best chance. And an experienced Albuquerque settlement facilitation lawyer can give the process itself its best chance.
If couples are unable to reach an agreement through direct negotiation with each other, then most judges here in Bernalillo County require that the spouses work through settlement facilitation before going to trial. The purpose is to still give this more conciliatory process a reasonable chance to work, before going to the inherently confrontation nature of litigation.
The settlement facilitator is brought in to help open up lines of discussion. It’s important to note that nothing the facilitator says or recommends is binding upon the spouses. Both parties have the right to decline any aspect of the settlement they do not want.
An independent third party has the advantage of being able to look at the situation from the outside in. This vantage point may allow them to see possible solutions that the parties and their lawyers, looking from the inside out, may not have a clear view of. What’s more, when the facilitator has over a quarter-century of experience, as Attorney Cortez does, they can draw on every single case worked in that timespan to find solutions that might otherwise be missed.
When disputes can be resolved via settlement facilitation, it is typically more cost-effective for both spouses. It also allows them to end what has often been a difficult chapter in their lives on a healthy note, and set a good tone for whatever is to come.
Both spouses and their lawyers will participate in the discovery process—the legal term that describes the mutual exchange of documents and other information that ensures each side is fully informed. Couples who own diverse financial portfolios may find this process particularly intensive. It’s vital to the ultimate success of facilitation that the parties be transparent with each other.
Once discovery is completed, Attorney Cortez will meet with the spouses and their lawyers. The parties should expect to spend an entire day in session, although a settlement within four hours can happen. The goal is that an agreement be reached by the end of the day. Attorney Cortez will hear the offers and counteroffers, all the while looking for the common ground that will be the foundation for an agreement.
Attorney Cortez will usually have the parties and their counsel meet in separate rooms, while she shuttles back and forth between them. She might share with each side the perceived strengths and weaknesses of their case or share how their particular judge has ruled in similar situations, all why trying to find an amicable solution for each side.
At ABQ Facilitation, we prepare thoroughly for every session. That preparation gives us the foundation to think through impasses and see the solutions that others might miss. Reach out today and set up a free consultation to discuss our Albuquerque settlement facilitation services further.
Attorney Michelle Cortez founded ABQ Facilitation to help to divorce spouses resolve their differences without going to court. With over 27 years of experience, Attorney Cortez has deep familiarity with all facets of New Mexico divorce law and what’s needed for an agreement to pass legal muster. Also serving Ruidoso, Las Cruces, Sandoval County, Valencia County, & Torrance County.