Frequently Asked Questions
What is Family and Divorce Mediation?
Mediation is a tested, more sensitive approach to separation and divorce. It is a non-adversarial process helping people to dissolve marriages or domestic partnerships, once the decision to separate is made. The framework provides partners the opportunity to negotiate mutually beneficial agreements that include property settlement, spousal support, child support and custody.
What is the Role of the Mediator?
A mediator is a neutral party trained to help couples resolve the disputes that arise during separation. He or she helps the couple explore all options and their consequences. The mediator brings knowledge and experience that provides a context for decision-making. When necessary, the mediator will refer the couple to third-party experts for services such as appraisals.
What Are the Advantages of Mediation?
Family and divorce mediation promotes cooperation and self-determination that will continue well past the period of separation/divorce. The process helps eliminate the win-lose atmosphere that is part of many divorces and family controversies. It consists of a mutual search for reasonable solutions.
The couple's continuous involvement in the total decision-making process leads to greater satisfaction with the solution and more incentive to follow through with the decisions made as a result of their ownership of the decisions. Mediation is also effective for post divorce conflicts arising out of the changing needs of the family.
Does My Spouse Have to Agree to Participate in Mediation?
Successful mediation requires that both parties have a mutual desire to resolve the issues themselves, constructively and economically. They are willing to deal with each other in good faith and cooperate with the mediator. The appropriateness of mediation can best be assessed and determined at the initial session between the mediator and the parties.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
The total cost of mediation is often less than one-third the cost of a litigated divorce. Additionally, since there are no retainer fees and mediation fees are paid as a flat fee, clients can maintain control of their expenses. This is a sharp contrast to the litigation process that can be expensive and time consuming, leaving each party heavily in debt, and drained, both emotionally and financially.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
All mediating clients are understandably interested in and concerned about how long mediation will take. The time it takes to reach an agreement depends entirely on how long it will take you to reach what you perceive to be your fairest and most constructive agreement possible.
Mediation is task-oriented with a goal of reaching agreement. This agreement may be reached in a very short time in situations where mediating parties are already at a very high level of agreement and are able to specifically describe that agreement. In situations where there are a number of "open issues" (either disputed issues or issues that have not been well considered), the mediation will take a bit longer.