Mediation is a confidential, non-adversarial and voluntary process where a trained professional “neutral” mediator guides you and your spouse through the decisions that need to be made when getting divorced.
The process is straightforward and you and your spouse are in charge of your own settlement. The mediator helps you both change the nature of your interactions so you are able to negotiate and make decisions together, based on your unique family and financial situation. Mediation provides for a safe, informal, confidential and future-oriented discussion about your family.
Mediation is a Different Approach
The contentious and adversarial “I win, you lose” system is replaced by a cooperative approach that focuses on developing a plan for your future.
Working with the mediator, you and your spouse jointly develop sensible solutions to meet your needs and those of your children, if any, without an expensive legal battle. The mediator assists you and guides you through the process of developing an agreement on all the issues that need to be addressed.
The Role of the Mediator
A mediator is a specially trained third-party “neutral” who assist couples in resolving the inevitable disputes that arise during separation. The mediator assists the couple in discovering and analyzing options and different outcomes.
When necessary, third-party experts may be brought into the process for specific services, such as business or home appraisals. At the end of the mediation, the mediator prepares a comprehensive “Memorandum of Understanding” that summarizes the agreements reached by the parties during mediation.
Generally, the process proceeds at the couple’s agreed-upon pace and the complete process can take between four to eight sessions. Sessions are generally one to two hours in length.
The Costs Of Mediation
The total cost of a mediated divorce, even when the attorney review and filing costs are included, is substantial less than the cost of a litigated divorce.
There are no retainer fees and the fees for mediation are paid at each session, thereby allowing the couple to control their expenses. Costly litigation is replaced with collaboration and direct negotiations to resolve separation issues. Litigation can also be emotionally draining, as well as time consuming and costly.
The Attorney’s Role in Mediation
Following the mediation and the preparation of the “Memorandum of Understanding,” divorcing parties arrange for their individual attorneys to review the agreement reached in mediation. Typically, one of the attorneys will prepare the property settlement agreement that is filed with the court. Parties in divorce mediation are advised to obtain separate attorneys to review this agreement.
Couples working with the mediator also can consult with their attorney during the mediation process to discuss and review any of the decisions being made as they proceed through the process.