ED and mediation


#1

My divorce was final in September 2010, but the ED was not done at that time. I understand that my ex and I must go through mediation before going to court to settle this. How long can this process drag on? I seem to have issues with my attorney as well as my ex and his attorney. I appreciate any help.

Thanks


#2

You can file for ED at anytime prior to entry of the divorce. You must file for ED before the divorce is granted, so hopefully that was already filed in your case. A judge can order mediation in the event of a disputed ED before it is allowed to proceed to trial. If it isn’t settled in mediation, it will proceed to trial. How long this whole process takes varies, but it can be a year or longer.


#3

The ED was filed before the divorce was finalized. I am concerned as to how long the process will take to get it resolved. My attorney says we “have” to do mediation before going to court, but it’s almost like a never ending process. Either ex’s attorney puts it off…or my attorney is putting it off. I don’t want this to drag out for years and that is what I am afraid of!

Thank you for your quick response.


#4

Well, it can take a long time and no two cases are exactly alike. No one can guarantee you how long it will take. Attorneys’ fees are not typically recoverable in equitable distribution matters. There is a tiny loophole however in which you might be able to recover those fees in the form of sanctions, but this is rare and only applies when the court does find that the other party has (or attempted to) willfully obstructed or unreasonably delayed proceedings.

NCGS 50.21:

Upon motion of either party or upon the court’s own initiative, the court shall impose an appropriate sanction on a party when the court finds that:

(1) The party has willfully obstructed or unreasonably delayed, or has attempted to obstruct or unreasonably delay, discovery proceedings, including failure to make discovery pursuant to G.S. 1A‑1, Rule 37, or has willfully obstructed or unreasonably delayed or attempted to obstruct or unreasonably delay any pending equitable distribution proceeding, and

(2) The willful obstruction or unreasonable delay of the proceedings is or would be prejudicial to the interests of the opposing party.

Delay consented to by the parties is not grounds for sanctions. The sanction may include an order to pay the other party the amount of the reasonable expenses and damages incurred because of the willful obstruction or unreasonable delay, including a reasonable attorneys’ fee, and including appointment by the court, at the offending party’s expense, of an accountant, appraiser, or other expert whose services the court finds are necessary to secure in order for the discovery or other equitable distribution proceeding to be timely conducted.