Frequently Asked Questions about Mediation
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION?
Cost. Mediation can be more cost-effective than traditional litigation, which can take a financial toll on families.
Time. Mediation often takes less time. For example, a typical divorce mediation may take 2-4 months while a traditional divorce may take 9 months or longer. *Due to the pandemic, many court cases are significantly delayed.
Control. In court, a judge makes the decisions for you. In mediation you work together to make decisions that work for your family and your child(ren).
Privacy. Mediation is private, allowing you to discuss and resolve issues without the public atmosphere of a courtroom.
Relationship. Traditional litigation can take a financial, physical and emotional toll on everyone involved. Mediation can be less emotionally taxing and helps preserve and acknowledge the importance of ongoing relationships. This is especially important if you are co-parenting children.
HOW DOES MEDIATION WORK?
Mediation involves two parties who agree to participate voluntarily. I will first meet with each of you individually to get a snapshot of what brings you to mediation. This is followed by joint sessions. You will be asked to co-create an agenda for the joint sessions. I will give you an opportunity to be heard and to listen to the other party, to brainstorm ideas and to develop options to solve the problems you identify. During this time you will be encouraged to focus on “proposals” - these are your “asks”. Once you have reached a resolution on all or some of the issues, I can prepare the mediated agreement(s) for you.
CAN WE STILL MEDIATE IF WE ARE NOT MARRIED?
Absolutely! The process of mediation is well suited to all different family configurations and issues, including unmarried parents, pre- and post-divorce parents, LGBTQ+ families, non–traditional relationships, grandparents, adopting families and birth families, and communication issues across all relationships.
HOW DO I MEDIATE IF I DON'T TRUST THE OTHER PERSON?
It is normal to feel a lack of trust when relationships are being reconfigured. Mediation can help you minimize conflict, prevent further break downs in communication and move forward. If there have been serious breeches of trust, it helps to remember that mediation is not a commitment to particular agreements, it is a commitment to engage in a process. I always recommend you run agreements made in mediation by an attorney before you sign anything. This gives you time to think things through and discuss any concerns before making final decisions. The mediation process is not magic, but it can create a road map to help you navigate what feel like unsolvable issues.
CAN I MEDIATE WITH A PARTY WHO HAS BEEN ABUSIVE?
Mediators are trained to manage conflict and power imbalances. However, if there has been physical, mental and/or emotional abuse, mediation may not be the appropriate process, especially if there are current power and control issues or safety concerns. If you have questions, feel free to discuss this privately with me before we begin.
HOW MANY MEDIATION SESSIONS CAN WE EXPECT?
The number and length of sessions depends on the complexity of the issues being addressed, your level of conflict, and your timeline. As a very general guideline, family mediation to address just custody and parenting time might involve 3 to 6 joint 2hr sessions.
HOW MUCH DOES MEDIATION COST?
The cost for mediation is $175.00 per 55-minute hour. Payment is made at the end of each session. Phone calls, emails and other communications in between sessions that are over 10 minutes, as well as writing of memos or agreements, are billed at the hourly rate. If the cost of mediation is a hardship please let me know immediately so we can talk about options. I offer a sliding scale and payment plan options.
CAN I BILL INSURANCE FOR MEDIATION?
Mediation is not typically covered by insurance. I recommend checking with your insurance company for more information about this.
DO YOU FILE OUR MEDIATION AGREEMENT IN COURT?
Either your attorney or your mediator can write your final agreement. As a mediator, I do not file agreements with the court, but any agreement I write can be used by you or your attorney to prepare the final paperwork and filing.
DO I REALLY NEED AN ATTORNEY?
As a mediator, I do not give legal advice and I encourage you to consult with an attorney, at a minimum to review your agreement before signing it. Some parties are concerned that consulting an attorney will make the divorce process adversarial. While this can certainly happen (an attorney is expected to represent your best interests, not those of your family), you can opt to work with a “mediation-friendly” or collaborative attorney. Let me know if you need referrals.