What is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a less costly and quicker means to divorce. It’s a voluntary and confidential process that takes place in an informal office setting where couples meet with a neutral third party, the mediator, to resolve issues of property, support and custody. The mediator facilitates discussions by keeping the parties focused on their goals and interests in order to arrive at a fair settlement.
It is the mediator’s responsibility to keep couples informed about the law and their options. A good mediator has substantive knowledge as well as skill in managing conflict and emotion. She will create an environment that allows for a productive exchange of wants and needs. In mediation the focus is to create an agreement that works for the couple and their family in the future.
Parties to mediation retain control over decision-making instead of turning matters over to lawyers and judges. Where necessary, there is opportunity to consult with outside experts in the areas of finance and taxes, real estate, business valuation, child development and therapy. At any time during or after mediation the parties are free to consult with an attorney.
Most couples can address all issues in 2-8 sessions at a cost of approximately $1,200-$4,000. Of course, the complexity of each case will determine the number of sessions and cost. If the mediator is an attorney, she can memorialize the couple’s agreement in a legal Stipulation of Settlement and then draft and file the additional legal documents with the court for approximately $4,000. The total cost to the couple is significantly less than a litigated or attorney negotiated divorce.