1. How does mediation work?
Mediation is a cooperative and non-adversarial process in which one or more neutral professionals assist you in making informed and practical decisions for your separation or divorce. Trained mediators will help you work through a series of steps in an orderly fashion to create a fair and balanced agreement that is acceptable to both parties and that works for the entire family.
Mediators who are experienced in both law and the emotional issues of divorce will help guide you to identify and solve issues including; the distribution of marital property and debts, (for example, the house, retirement plans, businesses and stock, savings and checking accounts), Parenting responsibilities (child support, visitation schedules, and custody issues) and Spousal Maintenance (alimony).
2. Why is a mediated divorce a smarter alternative?
Experience indicates that a mediated divorce is a time saver and is significantly less costly than a litigated divorce. In mediation the parties avoid the expense of having separate attorneys as well as the costs of an often protracted and time consuming litigation process. In these difficult economic times this is a very important factor.
Mediation also allows the parties to retain a greater degree of control over the divorce process in a private, safe atmosphere with mediators who are sensitive to the unique issues involved in the separation and divorce process. The final resolution in mediation is determined by the parties and is not imposed by the court.
Additionally, parties who can agree to mediate in a respectful and cooperative manner almost always undergo less stress for themselves and for their children than those individuals who choose to resolve their differences in an adversarial manner.
3. How long will mediation take and how much does it cost?
Generally, divorce mediation takes between 3 and 8 sessions depending upon the complexity of the issues to be resolved and the capabilities of the parties to work together towards a mutually acceptable resolution.
Fees are based upon an hourly rate. There is a separate charge for the preparation of a separation agreement and an additional charge for the preparation of the divorce papers.
4. What happens after the mediation is completed?
After the mediation process is completed, one of your attorney-mediators will prepare the separation agreement incorporating all of the issues discussed and resolved during mediation. If you wish to get divorced immediately, rather than live under a separation agreement for a year or more, your attorney-mediator will prepare and file the divorce papers for you.
5. What other resources might the mediators provide?
It is not unusual for couples to require the services of other professionals to complete the mediation. Your mediators can offer referrals to such professionals as accountants, business evaluators, financial planners, mental health counselors and other experts, as needed.
6. What is the advantage of having co-mediators?
An advantage for couples of co-mediation is that it provides the combined expertise and skills of two individuals for the same cost as one mediator. In our practice our clients benefit from our significant expertise in legal and mental health issues as well as in marriage and family counseling. Co-mediators can also serve as role models for the mediation process in terms of demonstrating effective communication; showing respect and seeking mutually acceptable resolutions.