Mediation is a frequently used negotiation tool in litigation, including divorce settlements. With a divorce mediation, you and your spouse — or your divorce attorneys — will hire a neutral third party who will attempt to help resolve any outstanding issues in the divorce. The mediator is not responsible for making decisions and he or she does not render a decision, their role is to be a neutral facilitator who helps you and your spouse move closer to a settlement agreement.
Some of the more common issues discussed during a divorce medication can include:
● Child custody
● Parenting time agreement
● Child support
● Spousal support/alimony
● Distribution of assets and liabilities
Divorce Mediation Process
The divorce mediation process takes place in several phases. Once parties have agreed on a mediator, a date is set. At the mediation itself, the process begins with an introductory phase where you provide background information to the mediator. He or she will explain how the process works. The mediator may employ different techniques depending on how well you and your spouse communicate. The mediator will make a list of the topics you already agree on and help you work together on the unresolved ones.
A divorce mediation only works if all parties are fully informed. The mediator will discuss the laws that apply in your divorce and how a court would likely divide your assets, and decide on custody and support. The mediator may have to set future meetings if there is information not present or you need time to get financial documents like mortgage statements or tax returns.
Next, the mediator will start outlining each spouse’s wants and concerns. He or she will ascertain what the most important issues are and help you hopefully reach common ground through negotiation. This can be a powerful tool because it gives you control over the outcome of your divorce rather than leaving it to chance with a judge.
If the divorce mediation process is successful, there will be a tentative settlement agreement drafted and sent to both sides to review with your respective divorce attorney. Once signed, the agreement is filed with the court.
Divorce Mediation Cost
Understandably, couples want to know what a divorce mediation costs. The expenses can vary widely based on a number of factors, including:
● Geographic location
● Mediator’s experience
● Time involved
Mediators typically charge by the hour, and the rate can be very different depending on whether they have two years of experience as a mediator or 20 years of experience. Hourly rates for a mediator could be as low as $100 per hour or as high as $1,000.
Your location can also influence how much the hourly rate is since the cost of living varies in each state. A mediation that only takes a few hours of prep and lasts a short time will obviously cost significantly less than a divorce mediation that is complex and involves multiple hearings.
Retaining a Divorce Lawyer
If you are going through a divorce or are wondering whether a divorce mediation is right for you, it’s important to speak with a skilled divorce attorney right away. Call 1-800-Family-Law and let us refer you to a divorce attorney near you.