Frequently Asked Questions
- How does mediation work?
- What is the difference between hiring a mediator and hiring an attorney?
- If my spouse and I decide to hire a mediator, do we each need an attorney, too? Doesn’t that add to the cost?
- My spouse and I disagree on everything. That’s why we’re getting divorced. Why would I agree to mediation with a person I no longer want to be around?
- Can a mediator file all the necessary papers with the court?
- The other parent and I were never married. Can you handle those types of cases?
- My ex-spouse and I were divorced a long time ago, but now I want to revisit the custody or parenting time issues. Can those issues be resolved through mediation?
- Do you handle other types of disputes?
After both parties have agreed to mediation, the selected mediator will explain the process in detail during the first session. The mediator will make sure everyone understands that the process is confidential and that the mediator maintains neutrality. Each party will spend time with the mediator alone to provide a good snapshot of what brings you to mediation and the outcomes you hope to achieve. When the parties reconvene, mediation takes the form of a facilitated conversation in which positions are made clear, priorities are identified, solutions are suggested, and alternatives are negotiated.
When you hire a mediator, you retain more control over your case. The important decisions about the divorce – and your life – are made by you and your spouse. The incentive is to meet somewhere in the middle with a settlement that works for both parties.
In a contested divorce, the attorneys for you and your spouse are far more involved in the decision-making process. Both attorneys are paid to advocate their client’s point of view based on one side of the story. Naturally, this sets the stage for polarized bargaining positions and provides little incentive to reach results that are fair to both parties. The adversarial approach almost always takes a longer period of time to reach a resolution, and whatever the outcome, that means higher costs to the parties.
If my spouse and I decide to hire a mediator, do we each need an attorney, too? Doesn’t that add to the cost?
As a mediator I always advise clients to consult an attorney to review the process. I maintain a list of attorneys who understand and support the goals of mediation. You are always free to find an attorney on your own.
Consultation should not add significantly to costs. You are working with just one professional instead of two, and since mediation emphasizes areas of agreement rather than differences, consultation takes a lot less time.
My spouse and I disagree on everything. That's why we're getting divorced. Why would I agree to mediation with a person I no longer want to be around?
Mediation is not magic. Mediation is a facilitated conversation that provides an opportunity to advocate for yourself, to take responsibility for your children and your finances. A divorce stands a good chance of being the most important transaction of your life. By settling the issues face-to-face, you maintain far greater control over those decisions.
Discussing your feelings about what happened during your marriage can be part of the mediation process, but mediation is not counseling. The mediator will guide you through the process in a way that helps you end the marriage with your children’s best interests in mind and a fair financial settlement for both parties. It does not have to mean you and your ex-spouse have to be best friends. But don’t underestimate the damage that can be done both to the adults and the children if a contested divorce becomes truly bitter.
As an attorney, I can prepare the paperwork that accomplishes the agreement reached in mediation. Generally I prepare the Judgment (the document that ultimately dissolves the marriage). I can assist clients with resources to prepare all the documents to finalize the divorce.
As an attorney with eleven years of domestic relations experience, I can mediate custody, parenting time and support issues between unmarried parents. I can also mediate property issues in domestic partnership cases.
My ex-spouse and I were divorced a long time ago, but now I want to revisit the custody or parenting time issues. Can those issues be resolved through mediation?
Yes. It is always a good idea to revisit those issues in mediation either before or after a modification is filed.
Yes. I mediate other family-related issues such as elder care and guardianships.