As a Certified Divorce Mediator, I have the skills and training to work with both parties to come to a mutual agreement about the terms of your separation and divorce.
In mediation, both parities are given the opportunity to negotiate mutually beneficial terms in total privacy. By choosing divorce mediation, you and your spouse can create your own agreements and work things out cooperatively, rather than engaging in an expensive and stressful legal battle.
What are the Benefits of Divorce by Mediation?
Divorce by mediation is non-adversarial. Both parties are partners in decision-making, and decisions are mutual. You both must agree on solutions, or there is no agreement.
One spouse does not win at the expense of the other. Mediation is conducted so that there should be no losers.
Mediation helps clarify areas of conflict.
Most couples have some conflict. The mediator helps you limit the conflict and discuss things productively.
Mediation lessens the tension between both of you.
Mediation enables you to work together as parents, and even to remain friends, if you wish.
Mediation allows you to set your own pace.
You won't be frustrated by delays in court or feel pressured to meet court-imposed deadlines. Your mediation can proceed as slowly or as rapidly as you choose.
Mediation is private. You maintain your privacy by staying away from the courthouse and working out your agreement in a safe, respectful environment. Your mediators are responsible for all contacts with the court, so that you can get your divorce negotiated and the paperwork done in an office.
Mediation gives you power.
You control your own decisions over your own lives, rather than allowing others to make decisions for you. The agreement that you design in mediation includes everything that is important to you. In mediation, unlike in court, there are no surprises. The discussion continues until each of you is convinced that the agreement will work for you.
Mediation gives you a chance to be heard, in a safe and private setting.
We make sure that each of you gets to say what you want to say, without interruption. Your mediator listens, and your spouse listens too. We make sure that we understand your goals and we work hard at helping you achieve your top priorities.
Mediation is best for your children.
You will be helped to design a parenting plan that works for your family. You will have time to try out different parenting plans before you sign an agreement. While most other forms of divorce negations forget the best interests of the children, all mediation discussions keep in mind you are both parents of your children and you will have a continuing relationship as parents after you have ended the spouse relationship. In mediation, the interests of the children are always paramount.
Mediation recognizes children's needs may change in the future.
If you have minor children, it is likely you will need to revise your parenting plan over time. Your mediators may recommend "periodic planning meetings" so that you have a vehicle for making changes in your parenting schedule as your children's needs change.
Mediation costs significantly less than other kinds of divorce negotiations.
The costs of traditional divorce litigation are extremely high. By using mediation, there is no need to deplete your finances and spend your children's college education account, your vacation money, and the equity in your home on your divorce.
How Does Mediation Work?
In divorce mediation, the mediators work with you to identify all the issues that need to be covered in your separation agreement, including the division of personal and real property, support, parenting decisions, and plans for the future. Mediation can also deal with specific limited issues such as times of access, what to do with the house, or other issues specified by you at the start.
You will each fill out a financial disclosure form, and your mediators will help you identify all of your material assets, figure out their value, and help you to divide them fairly. Your mediators will help you determine what it costs to live apart and, using that information together with the current income, help you determine the amount and duration of support. If you have children, your mediators will show you how state child support guidelines apply to your situation.
The mediation process helps eliminate the painful win-lose atmosphere that is part of all the adversarial divorces. The process is a mutual search for a reasonable solution; neither partner can win at the other’s expense. Resolutions must emerge from the process with a settlement crated and accepted by both. Your agreement is tailored to meet the unique and specific needs of your family.
How Long Will Mediation Take?
Each mediation session will take about two hours, with the average mediation taking a total of ten or twelve hours. Mediation of specific issues or for couples without children is shorter.
What If We're Not Really Sure We Want to Divorce?
If you and your spouse think that it may be possible to work on your marriage and avoid divorce, we will help you construct a two-part contract, including a marriage agreement that describes what each of you can do to create a marriage that pleases both of you, as well as a Marrital Settlement Agreement that sets forth the terms of your divorce, to be used only if you decide in the future that you want to end your marriage. Almost all couples that enter into this two-part agreement end up in satisfying, long-term marriages.
What if My Spouse is Hesitant to Try Mediation?
Ask him or her to give us a call, so that we can explain the mediation process and answer any questions.
Is Mediation Expensive?
Fees for mediation are moderate and on an hourly basis. No retainers are charged. You pay only for the actual time you use.
Both parties should share in the fees in a way that is appropriate to your situation, remembering that your mediators are working for both of you.
Will I Still Need an Attorney?
Divorce by mediation is not a legal service. The outcome of the mediation is a memorandum of understanding detailing all of your agreements. Once your mediation agreement is made, you meet with an outside "reviewing attorney" of your choice. This is someone you choose to review your settlement agreement and who will incorporate your agreement into formal legal documents before you sign it. This safeguard takes about an hour of your time, and insures that you are thoroughly informed about all of the ramifications of your proposed agreement, before you sign a binding agreement. We can refer you to attorneys who have agreed to perform these services for modest fees.
How Do I Start the Mediation Process?
All you need to do is call us to arrange a mutually convenient appointment for you and your spouse to attend an initial session. At that time, I will explain the mediation process in greater detail. Both of you receive the same information, and therefore each of you can be assured you will be on equal footing from the outset of the proceedings.