Frequently Asked Questions
What is Divorce Mediation?
As the parties reach agreement on their various issues, the mediator will write it up in the form of a memorandum.
What are the advantages of mediation? Are there any drawbacks?
Mediation usually provides a quicker, more cost effective and more satisfactory outcome than litigation. While it may take months and sometimes years to resolve a disagreement in court, mediation can be paced according to the parties’ needs.
Mediation is voluntary and requires the agreement of both parties to make a final resolution. This results in a higher likelihood of compliance with the mutual agreement since the parties are usually more likely to stick to a solution which they decided for themselves. Most important, the parties are more likely to preserve an amicable relationship in the future.
However, if one party does not enter into the mediation with the intention to make concessions and compromises, then the mediation is likely to fail. While mediation is less expensive and takes less time than court cases they still cost money and can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The costs of mediation, and obviously the time spent, are not refundable, and the parties to a failed mediation typically would still need to incur the costs of subsequent litigation.
Do we need mediation if we have no joint property and no children?
Of course, you can buy a do-it-yourself divorce book, however, there are often important issues that can be overlooked if you go it alone. If you work with a mediator, you will be certain that your agreement is complete, binding, and that you will keep your expenses to a minimum. A mediator is specially trained to help you through any difficult topics. A book cannot do the same.
What happens during the mediation process?
Who pays for the mediation, how long does it take, and how much will it cost?
Because every couple’s separation and divorce is different, it is hard to predict exactly how long your mediation will last. In general, a full divorce, including parenting issues and the division of property and assets, takes between three and five sessions. We have a variety of mediation packages that are value-driven and are designed to meet the diverse needs of our clients. In all cases, mediation will be much less costly than litigation.
Will the mediator try to get us back together?
Recovering a relationship is the goal of couple’s therapy, not mediation. Mediators are focused solely on making the process of separating as amiable as possible.
If you are having difficulty with the separation, you have a choice – you can learn to accept it and participate in the discussions (as difficult as that may be), or you can refuse and force proceedings which you really do not want and may not be able to afford. It is this kind of help that a divorce mediator can constructively provide, and it is this kind of pain that we can help you avoid.
If I use a mediator, do I still need to go to court?
If you are using mediation in order to obtain a divorce, you will have to file in court for your divorce. However, if you are able to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to all of the property, financial, custody, parenting and other issues that you are attempting to resolve, and the court accepts your settlement, it is unlikely that you will have to make many, or any, court appearances.
Generally, the more you do outside of the court to decide how you want to handle your divorce, the better. This will save time, money and emotional resources. For some couples, however, negotiating directly with each other, even with the help of a mediator, is not possible—either because of problems in the relationship such as domestic violence or substance abuse, or because a spouse is unwilling to mediate. Under those circumstances, the involvement of attorneys is necessary, either in addition to mediation, or instead of it.