Home Features Law Dear Divorce Mediators: Does It Matter Who Files First? - Page 1

Formally “served” vs. No one gets “served”

In litigation the Petition is formally “served” on the Respondent by a process server or sheriff deputy, which can be stressful, emotional and cause additional conflict.

In mediation, no one gets “served.” Instead, the mediator will have the other spouses sign “Acceptance of Service,” which waives formal service and usually occurs during a mediation session with both spouses present.

Peaceful beginnings and endings

What a Petition says, when a Petition is filed, and how a Petition is served will set the tone for the rest of your divorce. The impact of this first divorce move should not be underestimated.

A Petition that takes extreme positions that is formally served by total surprise is often perceived as the first shots in a divorce war. Spouses should be mindful about how they begin their divorce process – especially when they have minor children.

The decision of when and how to receive divorce papers should be decided together when possible. An experienced divorce mediator can ensure that the Petition and Service are low-conflict and make the process easier to bear. By approaching these parts of the divorce in a way that removes fear and potential misunderstandings, your divorce can remain respectful, and your terms can be personalized and benefit both spouses. Yes—a peaceful beginning and end to your divorce is very possible.

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Michael Aurit, J.D., M.D.R., and Karen Aurit, M.A., help spouses avoid a harmful divorce war. They guide couples through a healthier, more peaceful divorce so that spouses never set foot in a courtroom. As co-founders of The Aurit Center For Divorce Mediation, in Phoenix, Arizona, the team provides a confidential, affordable, and low stress process that reduces conflict. Spouses stay in control of their own personalized divorce terms and reach mutual agreements on all issues. The Aurit Center handles the entire divorce from beginning to end. Most importantly, divorce mediation protects the health and emotional well-being of children.