Frequently Asked Questions about Divorce 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.
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 FAMILY 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 and what matters most to you. This is followed by joint sessions that are typically 1.5 hours. 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 challenges you identify and to make agreements. Once you have reached a resolution on all or some of the issues, I can prepare the mediated agreement(s) for you. If you want assistance with the legal and financial pieces of divorce I can connect you with excellent professionals when you are ready. While I often integrate psycho-educational and coaching components in mediation, I also offer separate coaching services.
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. 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 basic power imbalances. However, if there has been physical, sexual, mental and/or emotional abuse, mediation may not be the appropriate process, especially if there are current power and control issues or safety concerns. The neutrality of a mediator can sometimes feel like an added trauma in abuse situations. If you have concerns about this, please discuss it with your attorney and/or therapist before scheduling a mediation. You may stop mediation at any time.
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 create a Parenting Plan that will be filed with the court might involve 3 to 6 joint 1.5 - 2hr sessions.
HOW MUCH DOES MEDIATION COST?
The cost for mediation is $185.00 per 55-minute hour. Payment is made at the end of each session through auto-pay. Phone calls, emails and other communications in between sessions that are over 5 minutes, as well as writing of session notes, memorandums 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.
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?
As a non-legal family mediator, I do not file agreements with the court, but any agreement I write can be used by you, your attorney, or your legal mediator to prepare the final paperwork and filing.
DO I REALLY NEED AN ATTORNEY?
It is recommended that you consult with an attorney, at a minimum to review your agreement before signing it. If you choose to work with attorneys at any time in your divorce process, I recommend that you use professionals trained in Collaborative Divorce and I am happy to provide referrals.