What is mediation?
Mediation is an efficient and inexpensive out-of-court process designed to help people reach the best agreement for them when separating, divorcing or in a post-dissolution matter. As a trained professional mediator, our attorney can assist you in obtaining the information you need and help you stay focused on the issues that need to be resolved in order to separate, divorce or address a post-dissolution disagreement amicably and in a cost efficient manner.
Is mediation confidential?
Mediation is a private process, not open to the public. You will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement before beginning mediation.
If I use mediation, will I need to go to court?
Mediation is a two-step process. In step one, the mediator facilitates your agreement out-of-court. Six to eight mediation sessions are attended by both parties. The parties generally split the cost of mediation. A Memorandum of Understanding, i.e. your agreement, is drafted by the mediator.
In step two, one of you retains a separate attorney who will draft any other court documents needed to divorce and that attorney will prove-up the divorce with one or both of you in court. This attorney should be friendly or supportive of the mediation process and respectful of the agreement you have made. We can assist you with referrals.
Will I need a lawyer in order to use mediation?
In my role as mediator, I serve as a neutral facilitator of your agreement. As a mediator, I cannot give legal advice. Should you have questions requiring legal advice, you can seek the advice of a separate attorney while you are in mediation.
If you are seeking a divorce, as the mediator, I cannot represent either person in court. A separate attorney must be retained in order to have your petition filed in court and represent one of the parties at the prove-up or court appearance before a judge to finalize the divorce.
If you are mediating a post-dissolution matter such as a change to your parenting agreement, there is usually a provision in your agreement that provides for resolution through mediation. After your agreement is reached, you can choose whether to simply sign an agreement or have the agreement entered by a judge as an Agreed Order.
How long will mediation take?
Because each separation and divorce and post-dissolution matter is different, it is hard to predict exactly how long your mediation will last. In general, a full divorce, including custody issues, division of property and assets, takes between five and eight sessions. A change to a parenting agreement may take a single session to resolve. In addition, as the mediator, I will take time to prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (in case of divorce) or other written agreement that outlines all of the agreements that you have reached through the mediation process.
How long are the sessions ?
Generally, mediation sessions are scheduled to last from 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on the couple’s needs and available time. Some couples prefer longer sessions while others find that shorter sessions are more productive.
How much will mediation cost?
Your mediation costs will be based on an hourly fee. The cost of mediation is generally significantly less than if each of you hired lawyers to represent you in your divorce without using mediation.
Contact my office by email at [email protected] or by phone at 708-459-8234 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.