The Family Mediation Process
We are mediators experienced in offering divorce and separating couples a fair process in which they can discuss and decide for themselves arrangements for their children, support, custody and property division. The father and mother jointly hire us to act, not as an attorney for either, but as a neutral mediator. During mediation the couple work out a mutually satisfactory plan covering the children’s living arrangements, the financial needs of each member of the family, the home and other assets, and debts of the parties. The process is designed to reduce the adversarial element often encountered in a divorce proceedings and also to save time and money. The goal is a” win-win” for all parties, as each becomes better able to appreciate the legitimate concerns and interests of the other and to apply their creative problem solving skills to reach resolution of disputed issues.
Once an agreement is reached, we will write a draft for the father and mother to review before signing. The parties shall review it with his or her attorney, if they have one. Once the agreement is signed by the parties, it is presented to the Courts for incorporation and binding upon both parties.
The Requirement Commitment
The mediation process will work only if the father and mother are willing to make a good effort to reach agreement. There is no legal obligation to agree; any commitment to the process and its results come voluntarily from the people involved.
The Benefits of Mediation
The mediation process can be significantly less expensive and less painful for the family than a protracted battle, which is often part of divorce or other family litigation. When children are involved, studies indicate agreements mutually agreed upon by the father and mother are usually better for the children than those imposed by court order. The process offers an opportunity for divorcing, divorced or separated parents to begin to operate within the framework that will be required for the duration of their children’s minority. Just as practice makes perfect in everyday life, the opportunity provided by mediation to practice treating one another with courtesy allows the habit to become second nature the more often it is employed. The structured process allows the father and mother to establish their own goals and to design for themselves, with help, the best way to use their own resources.
The Cost of Mediation
A deposit varies per state, but is required prior to the mediation date (which is shared by both parties) any unused funds will be refunded to the parties at the conclusion of the mediation. We believe this system helps to keep the “up-front” costs manageable and ensures that you will never pay for more time than you need to use. You may already be aware of the fact that most divorce lawyers require the payment of an initial “retainer fee”, which typically ranges from $3,500 to $7,500 + additional retainers required as the case progresses and the original retainers are depleted. By using our mediation services, you can avoid that front-loaded expense.
So that you can calculate the likely final cost of mediation, our fee is $400 per hour. You should know that most couples take about five hours of mediator time to complete their agreement, although your process may be either faster or slower depending upon your circumstances. We allow a 3 day review of agreement with counsel, if the parties have one, if there are minor changes to which both parties can agree, we make those at no extra charge.
Appointments are scheduled in advance and are for two hour blocks of time. Unless and appointment is canceled 24 hours in advance of the scheduled meeting, a one-hour cancellation charge of my hourly rate will apply, as I will have been prevented from scheduling others into your two-hour block. Clients are charged for the full two-hour block, regardless of time of arrival or time of conclusion of the session.