Many people ask the question “what is divorce mediation?”, and how it compares or relates to a traditional divorce litigation. Mediation is a voluntary process where the two of you work together with a neutral, impartial mediator to resolve issues and make decisions about parenting, child support and sometimes spousal support, and division of assets and liabilities. The 3 of us will sit together in a conference room for up to 2 hours at a time to work thru each component. Some components you will be able to agree upon quickly and others may take more discussion and compromise before an agreement can be reached. We can schedule as many sessions as needed until you feel you have reached a full agreement. At the end of our sessions, I will provide you with a memorandum of understanding which documents what was agreed to that you will take to your respective lawyers who will then provide you with legal advice and then can ultimately process your divorce thru the courts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is suitable for mediation?
All divorcing couples are eligible for mediation except those with a temporary or final restraining order.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation is designed to improve post-divorce relationships. Mediation creates an environment where the couple can communicate in a calm manner to discuss issues and make decisions. As a result of working together to make decisions, couples with children almost always have a better post-divorce relationship that allows them to be better co-parents than they would be otherwise. Many studies have been done that show that healthy co-parenting is extremely important in helping the children adjust to their newly restructured family. Also, it is significantly less expensive than litigation. And it can be accomplished at a pace that works for the couple.
What is divorce litigation?
Litigation is an adversarial process where each party has a lawyer and the lawyers communicate with each other about your position. Divorce litigation can be expensive, time-consuming and confrontational. Studies show that children suffer more in a high conflict divorce – and that it is the level of conflict that affects the children negatively, not the divorce itself.
Can I still mediate even though we are in the middle of litigation?
Yes. If both of you are willing to participate in mediation, simply advice your lawyers that you would like to pause their process in an attempt to mediate your agreement.
How long does divorce mediation take?
The length of mediation varies depending on the complexity of the divorce. Most agreements are reached with 4-6 session lasting 1 to 2 hours per session. It is up to you how frequently the sessions are scheduled.
Is divorce mediation expensive?
The cost of mediation is significantly less than litigation. The hourly rate for mediation is much less than the hourly rate for a lawyer. I offer a very competitive hourly rate for mediation. Also, with mediation no retainer is required. Fees are paid at the end of each session.
Do I still need a lawyer?
Yes. At the end of the mediation process, you will be provided a memorandum of understanding that contains all of the details the two of you agreed to with regards to parenting time, child support, spousal support, and distribution of assets and liabilities. Each of you will retain your own lawyer to review the agreement and provide you with legal advice. The lawyers will work together to prepare and file the formal agreement with the courts.
When should I retain a lawyer?
You may retain a lawyer at any time during the mediation process for legal advice.
What happens if the mediation process breaks down?
Every effort will be made to encourage both parties to communicate with each other to resolve issues and come to a decision. Know that more than 80% of couples successfully reach an agreement. Should the mediation process break down, the alternative is to pursue a divorce via lawyers and the court system.
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