Divorce Mediation – A Guide to the Process
By: Megan Mason
Divorce Mediation – A Guide to the Process
Divorce Mediation is an alternative to a lengthy and expensive trial. Divorce mediation is a time-line process of two or more people working with a neutral third person to resolve all issues in a divorce case. The mediator keeps a record of all communications with both parties and makes recommendations to both parties. It’s always advisable to at least speak with an experienced attorney before proceeding with a divorce mediation, but typically the parties don’t need to retain an attorney. The mediation can be completed quickly and relatively inexpensively.
The cost of a divorce mediation depends on the mediator you hire. Usually the cost is lower than the cost of a one-on-one meeting with a judge. The fee typically includes all the meetings, submitting paperwork and other services the lawyer will provide. Typically the fee for a divorce mediation is between five hundred and eight hundred dollars.
When divorcing spouses hire a divorce mediator, they are selecting an individual who will serve them best by being unbiased, understanding them, and providing them with an impartial third party to help them reach an agreement about their divorce. Mediation typically lasts approximately forty-five minutes and is facilitated by the spouses or their lawyers. There are no written agreements regarding the settlement that are signed during divorce mediation; everything is based on what the spouses feel is fair and what is best for them. A good divorce mediation helps the divorcing spouses communicate with one another in an effective and confidential manner.
If both spouses are amicable, and there are no children involved, then the process will conclude with a court hearing. If one spouse wants to go to trial, they can file a motion to dismiss. This motion can be based on a number of grounds including; there is no proof the spouse committed adultery, there is insufficient evidence to prove the adultery, the spouse is not a party to the marriage, or that the spouse has suffered from a debilitating mental illness. Both parties are expected to supply documentation to the court that will assist in the determination of the issues. Divorce Mediation tends to be quicker and easier than litigation when there are no children involved and the level of frustration is substantially less.
Many people assume that a divorce mediation attorney will not be helpful if their spouse does not want to cooperate with the process. This assumption may be true in some situations. In some cases, it may be better for one spouse to seek representation than it would be for the other spouse. However, when both spouses work together and come to an agreement on terms, both parties benefit. Each spouse has more satisfaction from the proceedings, and the litigation process is much quicker.
In addition to the cost associated with divorce mediation, there may be other costs. Depending on the State, a mediator may be required to appear at the county court during scheduled trial days. There are other fees associated with divorce mediation, and they vary from state to state. The fees typically are based on hourly rates and will include any travel time needed by the mediator, as well as any trial preparation that are required. These fees are generally extremely affordable, even for individuals who may not be able to partake in litigation due to financial reasons.
Divorce Mediation is most beneficial when an agreement has been reached on the major issues such as the division of assets and child custody. However, when attorneys do participate in these sessions, it is important to remember that they are there to provide information and not to offer legal advice. Many divorce lawyers believe that mediation tends to be quicker and less expensive. Some use the services of divorce mediators as a way to meet prospective clients. Divorce lawyers are usually involved only in matters that they feel will be of particular importance to their client.
Before hiring a divorce mediation professional, it is important to know what exactly the service is going to provide. Will the lawyer provide a free consultation? How long will the meeting last? What can the individual expect from the overall process? When considering whether or not to hire a lawyer to mediate a separation, one needs to evaluate the potential benefits and weigh the disadvantages. Hiring a lawyer can make the process easier to handle, but it cannot be the end all and be relied on to ensure an amicable outcome.