DO I NEED A LAWYER FOR MEDIATION?
Typically, mediated divorces DO NOT require a lawyer. Mediators are neutral 3rd parties to a settlement, and trained to cover the basic issues of a family in separation and most legal issues involved in divorce or separation.
Clients can design a plan that includes or defers to have legal involvement and/or have a legal review, it is that simple. Since Divorce is about a relationship and relationships can not be adjudicated. Doesn't it make sense that you control and create an agreement that is yours and unique to your family needs? I call it the "Mr. & Mrs. Smith law", if you will.
As a mediator, I can either file for you or you can choose to pay for the fees of services and all legal filings. You never have to appear in court, that would otherwise disturb the unique patterns that exist in the lives of your family.
HOW LONG DOES MEDIATION PROCESS TAKE?
A typical Mediation takes between 2 - 5 sessions, scheduled at the couple's convenience. The total time is dependent on and works around the combined time schedules of the couple's. The amount of overall time in mediation can be as quick as just a few weeks, but more normally, a few months. Again, it is dependent upon the information and language the couple has agreed to put into the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), so the mediator can enjoin the separation and stipulation that follows.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO MEDIATE?
In considering the cost of litigation, lawyer retainers run anywhere between $2,000- $15,000 (often based on your income). There are Court appearances varying from $300-$1,000 per visit. Every emotional issue during the process can run up to a $1,500 per filing motion. You are often charged for phone calls, emails, faxes, mailings, photocopying etc. You are often paying thousands before you can even address your issues with your family.
Mediation has no retainers, no court appearances, no motions, no charges for phone calls or emails. You get a dedicated 3rd party neutral who is paid for session appointments running from $300-$500 per session. You can be done with efficiency in 3-5 sessions. The average couple completes the process in just 4 private sessions. Generally, Mediation is about 1/10 the cost of court litigation.
Every divorce has legal filing fees which the couple must pay. To make it convenient for the couple, the mediator can collect this fee and bring the filings to the court for you.
If you have any questions to any legal issues that are part of mediation, you may opt for a legal review and pay the attorney of choice directly. A legal review, when requested, is separate and considered a non-mediation fee.
MEDIATION OR UNCONTESTED DIVORCE?
You may be surprised to know that almost all Mediated settlements are considered "uncontested." Uncontested is a self determination process which means..."We want to settle our issues the way we want to. We want to come to our own agreement, by compromising in every way possible, so we can come to terms, in a way, that directly satisfies our own unique and specific family needs."
DRAFTING SEPARATION AGREEMENT
The drafting of a separation agreement is taken from the couples plans that are written into a MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding). The mediator is present at all the negotiations and knows best how he wants the agreement to read.
The separation agreement places the more common language into "court ready" readability to formalize a legal document. Remember, the agreement is made by the couple...the arrangement details are organized by the mediator... and a legal document formalized into a stipulation by a reviewing attorney, if requested.