Mediation—A viable alternative for divorcing couples.
For many divorcing couples, the mediation process is a better choice than traditional adversarial litigation where each side hires their own attorney to handle the case from beginning to end. This often results in a long, expensive process that, in the end, satisfies neither party.
The Mediation Process
How it Works
Today, many divorcing couples are choosing to avoid the emotional and financial disaster of a contested divorce by agreeing to mediate. The couple selects a mediator to help craft the best possible settlement agreement for both parties. The mediator helps the couple resolve the issues in their divorce through direct negotiation and open communication between the parties.
The divorce mediator, usually an attorney or therapist, is a neutral facilitator using a wide variety of communication methods to encourage the divorcing couple to compromise with each other. The mediator guides the couple through often difficult emotionally charged conversations on issues such as spousal and child support, custody and visitation arrangements, division of property, and any other issues the parties want to resolve.
There are numerous benefits to the mediation process. Not only are divorces periods of great emotional stress for the couple but also their children and extended families. The mediation process by its very nature fosters compromise and communication between the parties. The mediation process lessens tension and emotional strain for most divorcing couples. A sometimes overlooked, but crucial, benefit of mediation is that all documents between parties, with the exception of the final agreement, remain strictly confidential and not open to the public.
How I Approach the Mediation Process
As a mediator, my job is to carefully explain the divorce process to each of you, listen to you, and help you clarify the issues in your case. I encourage your active participation throughout the process. In order for mediation to work, both of you must be able to talk openly with each other about the issues you deem important.
Through this process of open and considerate discussion, I have found that divorcing couples gain a better understanding of how their partner views the issues. I make sure each person has equal time to express their concerns and wishes.
As a mediator I also assist you in finding other professionals you may need to complete the divorce, such as therapists, child counselors, appraisers, and other business consultants.
When you have come to an agreement on how to settle your case I draft a final written settlement agreement. If you haven’t already done so, at that time I ask you each to retain an independent family law attorney to review and advise you on the settlement agreement. This helps ensure that all your legal rights have been protected.
Working together in the mediation process, your case can usually be resolved in far less time than in a traditional court-centered divorce.
My Experience and an Overview of Mediation
After three decades of practicing law and representing hundreds of divorce clients in family law court, it’s become clear to me that a contested, litigation-centered divorce is too often more harmful than helpful for the divorcing couple.
The adversarial system of a traditional divorce often generates hostile letters and telephone calls between lawyers containing threats of court action if the other party does not comply with requests for information or agree to certain conditions. When one or both parties (or their lawyers) reach a point of frustration about the progress of the negotiations (for example, on temporary child custody), their lawyers file court documents requesting a temporary judge’s order. Both parties then gear up for highly charged, emotional court battles.
In addition, contested litigation cases are usually more costly and often can take much longer to complete than a mediated divorce.
Finally, because over 90% of all contested divorces end in an out of court settlement without trial it simply makes more sense for divorcing couples to focus from the outset on a fair settlement agreement. The best way to accomplish that is through the mediation process.
How Long Will the Whole Process Take and How Much Will It Cost?
Each divorce has its own set of facts and issues, so it’s impossible to estimate time and costs before making at least a cursory evaluation. The issues in some divorces are more emotionally charged and/or complex than in others. After our first or second meeting I can give you an estimate of how long the mediation may take and the fees involved. In almost all cases, if the parties are working together to resolve their differences, mediation will take considerably less time and cost less than traditional adversarial divorce proceedings. At all times during the mediation, I remain dedicated to helping you reach agreement on all issues as quickly and fairly as possible.
I Am Ready to Help Mediate Your Divorce Case
If you are prepared to work with your spouse in a safe, neutral setting I can help you resolve the difficult issues related to your divorce. Going through a divorce is never easy but mediation avoids the additional trauma of the adversarial process.
I charge hourly fees, which vary depending on the case. The fees are split between the parties. The cost, however, is far lower than if each party has their own lawyer handle all aspects of their case.
As a mediator, I have one goal in mind—seeing the parties reach a mutual resolution of issues. I never think in terms of “winning” a divorce case.
Please call me and arrange for a no-charge initial meeting to see if divorce mediation meets your needs.
Free Case Evaluation
I invite both parties to meet and talk with me to see if we can successfully work together to mediate your divorce. It is essential that both of you feel comfortable and confident with your mediator. I encourage you to schedule your free consultation by calling (805) 705-9054 or email.