1. What’s the difference between a mediated divorce and a litigated divorce?

With a mediated divorce, you and your spouse are in charge. You do the negotiating rather than the attorneys. You control the choices that affect your life and your family. You are able to conclude your divorce and move on with your life in much less time, at a lower cost, and with less conflict and stress. There is no public disclosure of personal issues, financial or otherwise. An attorney’s job is to “win the war” for his/her client. Through Mediation, there is no war.

2. How can I do my own negotiating, particularly if my spouse is controlling or dominant?

The Mediator moderates your discussions and makes sure that both of you have equal opportunity to be heard. Neither party is allowed to dominate the mediation sessions or to pressure the other party. Although feelings are allowed to be expressed and acknowledged, respect, fair play and communication are always at the forefront of negotiations.

3. Is mediation only for couples who get along well?

No. As a Mediator, I am trained to manage high conflict in communication. Even couples who are barely able to talk to each other at the beginning of mediation can successfully reach a settlement and actually improve their communication. Where there is a lot of emotion involved, there is more danger that there will be a difficult litigated divorce. Mediation is even more important for these couples, especially where there are children.

4. Do we need attorneys if we are working with a mediator?

I encourage and recommend that you each have your own attorney available to you during the mediation process to answer any specific legal questions that may come up regarding your individual legal rights. I can recommend “mediation friendly” attorneys who will be available to you on an hourly basis for advice. At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator prepares a proposed Marital Settlement Agreement detailing all of your agreements. Your attorney will review the Marital Settlement Agreement and advise you about it before it is finalized and signed by you.

5. Why can’t the mediator do everything?

As a neutral professional, the Mediator cannot give you legal advice and cannot prepare legal documents on behalf of one party only. The Mediator can give you general information about the law, which is not the same as legal advice. The Mediator’s job is to provide assistance in helping you make your own decisions about your divorce in a neutral and professional manner.

6. Can anything I say in mediation be used against me in court later?

No. Mediation proceedings are confidential. Anything said during mediation is not admissible in court and cannot be used against you in later legal proceedings.

7. How much will mediation cost?

When both spouses meet with a Divorce Mediator they can share the cost, which is often split between them or paid for through a community asset. There is no retainer and the parties pay as each session is mediated.

I charge $200.00 per hour per couple with a two hour minimum per Mediation session, to be paid at the end of each mediation session. If the spouses were to retain separate attorneys to represent them in litigation proceedings, each would be paying a retainer of about $1,500-$5,000 just to get started and the sky is the limit. It is common for litigated divorces to cost between $10,000 and $50,000 for each party.

Because the parties are paying as they go, the cost and time it takes to complete the divorce depends upon how quickly the couple can resolve their issues. I have found that mediated divorces can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $7,000 depending on the complexity of the issues involved and the level of disagreement of the spouses. The parties determine the cost of the divorce and I encourage both spouses to do whatever they can to resolve their issues on their own and keep their costs at a minimum.

In Mediation there are no hidden costs. All mediations and costs for preparation of documents are paid for as they are incurred. The couple pays their own court costs such as filing fees, directly to the court.

8. What if I have questions?

If you have any questions about the mediation process, please bring them up at the first session or call me. See Contacts.

 

 

Phone: (707) 217-4128
E-Mail: [email protected]