What are some of the advantages of mediation?
Mediation can be less expensive both financially and emotionally for all involved. Litigation on the other hand can be expensive financially and emotionally and often leaves the participants emotionally, physically and financially drained and unsatisfied with the outcome.
Mediation can take less time. Typically a mediation will take 2-3 months while a traditional divorce may take 9 months or longer.
Mediation, especially in family issues helps preserve and acknowledge the importance of ongoing relationships. This is especially important if you are divorcing and have children.
Mediation is private, allowing you and your spouse to discuss and resolve the issues that are important for your family.
We are not married. Can we still use mediation?
Mediation is well suited to all types of family issues such as unmarried parents, post-divorce parents, non–traditional relationships, parent and teen relationships, grandparent custody and parenting issues.
How does mediation work?
The mediator will first meet with the parties individually to get a snapshot of what brings you to mediation. This is followed by one or more joint sessions with the mediator to work on the issues the parties identify, help the parties brainstorm and develop options to solve the problems. Once you have reached a resolution on all or some of the issues, the mediator can reduce the agreement(s) to writing.
The complexity of the conflict determines the number of sessions.
As a general guideline, mediation will consist of 4 to 6 hour sessions, but it is dependent on a number of variables such as parenting plan for the children and financial division.
How much will it cost?
The cost for mediation is $200.00 per hour. Payment is required a the end of each session. Phone calls, emails and other communications between sessions are billed at the hourly cost. Preparation of all or part of an agreement is also billed at the regular hourly rate.
How do I mediate if I don’t trust the other person?
It is normal to feel this way when relationships are breaking down. Mediation can help you move forward and help prevent further break down in the communication. The mediation process, while not magic, can create a road map to help navigate through what you may think are insolvable issues.
The other party has been abusive. Can I still mediate?
Mediators are trained to manage conflict and work to balance power imbalances. However, if there has been physical, mental and/or emotional abuse, then mediation may not be the appropriate process.
Do I really need to consult with an attorney – can’t you just advise us on what to do?
As a mediator, I cannot give you legal advice. I strongly encourage you to consult with an attorney at some point during the mediation process. Consulting with an attorney does not mean the process will become adversarial. An attorney can walk you through the “legal landscape” of divorce.
You are making very important decisions for both your children and your financial future. It just makes good business sense to insure that you are fully informed about any legal effect the agreement may have and to insure that all legal information is included when filed with the court. Your attorney is your advisor, helping you make informed decisions. Your attorney can also review any agreements you reach in mediation, and help with the filing of the necessary papers. If you file on your own and there is a problem with the paperwork the court may very well return it to you with little or no explanation. This can be frustrating and costly. I can provide clients with attorney contacts that are “mediation friendly” and are able to help move the process along.
Do you file the agreement with the court?
My practice is limited to mediation; you will need an attorney to help prepare the final paperwork. The mediated agreement that I prepare can be used by your attorney to help prepare the filing.