|What if I want to mediate but my spouse does not want to?
|This happens quite often. Mediation is a voluntary process. Both parties much show at least a modicum of willingness for mediation to have a chance. If your spouse does not want to mediate it is usually because they do not understand what it is. You will not be as good at explaining how mediation works as a mediator will be. If your communication is strained with your spouse and you try to explain to them what mediation is, and try to persuade them to mediate it is very likely that they will question your motive. If you feel that your spouse is not going to be amenable to mediation then you might suggest to them that both of you set up a consultation with a mediator of your choice and then decide if 1. Mediation is right for you both and 2. Which mediator you both are most comfortable with. It should also be noted that the courts frown on people who refuse to mediate. A judge will likely mandate that the party mediate before trying a case.
|What if we live in a rural area or too far from the Mediators office and can't travel to the sessions?
|This is only a minor hurdle. If one or both parties are unable to come to the mediator due to distance restrictions then the mediators will do conference call mediation. This is still very effective and works quite well. If distance is a problem for you then contact us to discuss your options but don't let it deter your from considering mediation
|What if our situation is too difficult for mediation?
|This would not likely be the case. In fact it is the opposite. The more conflict in the situation the better mediation works! Statistically only 3% of the cases that we start ever end up needing to involve the courts. This is because the mediators spend time with the couple focusing their anger and frustration and helping them realize that the more control they have in the agreement reaching process the better the agreement will be for both of them. When you to let a judge and attorneys make the decisions for you then there is a greater chance that the outcome will create even more conflict. This would explain why over 35% of all litigated divorce cases end up back in court.
|What if mediation does not work?
|It is rare that mediation will not result in an agreement that both parties feel comfortable. When this does happen it is usually because of unwillingness from one or both people and that be as a result of false expectations that may have been generated from a friend or family member or maybe even an attorney. If a couple is not able to find common ground in mediation then there are still alternatives to going to court that can usually bring agreement. One of these alternatives is to use an "advisory panel" made up of 3 retired judges or seasoned attorneys that the mediators choose. They read a summary of what the impasse is about and what each person wants. Each panel member acts independently of each other and they do not know who else is on the panel. This is a sort of "mock trial" that gives the couple a sense of how a court would rule on a particular issue. This process works very well but should only be used as a last alternative. If there is continued impasse the couple can always go to court and let a judge make a decision. For more information on how an advisory panel works please contact a mediator at 801-568-0789
|Are Mediated Agreements Legally Binding?
|At the end of the mediation the mediators will prepare a document called a "memorandum of understanding" or "mediation agreement" this document will include all the agreements the couple made throughout the mediation. This document will be signed and notarized as a legally binding document. It is a contract between the couple. In order for the courts to recognize it as a divorce it must be converted into a "divorce decree". This is the accepted format by the courts. It usually means that the "mediation agreement" is used as an overlay or template to create the decree. Everything that is in the mediation agreement will be in the decree and vice versa. Often times the "mediation agreement" is even filed with the decree as an attachment. To prevent any perception of bias the decree document preparation is done by either the parties or an attorney or paralegal. The mediators can facilitate all of the document preparation if the couple chooses. For more information on the "mediation agreements" please call a mediator at 801-568-0789
|Why is Mediation Less expensive than using attorneys?
|When a couple decides to use attorneys and the courts to handle their divorce, they are paying them to do all of the work. In mediation the couple will be expected to do a lot of the work. This means the process will take much less time. If a couple wants to keep some control of the process and outcome and are willing to commit to spending some time in mediation trying to find common ground and reach fair agreements will find mediation will cost significantly less than litigation.
|Why do some firms claim to be able to do divorces for $100.00-$200.00?
|First of all there are no mediation firms doing complete divorce mediations for this price. There are several "document preparation" services that are done by both paralegals and even attorneys that will prepare the basic minimum required documents by the courts. There is no mediation. You must have complete agreement on all issues. There is not any opportunity to discuss options or alternatives. Most of the time couples choose this service trying to save money. 85% of these types of divorces have major problems in the future and often end up back in court. If this happens the modifications can be very costly in both time and money. This type of service may be appropriate for situations where the couple has no children and have been married less than 2 years and have no debt or asset conflicts.
|What do Attorneys think of Mediation?
|Most attorneys understand that the courts are ill suited to handle family divorce issues and encourage divorcing couples to at least try mediation. Many attorneys have given up their legal practices to pursue careers in mediation for this purpose. Judges are also big proponents of mediation because of the success rate of mediated divorce agreements. Only 3% of mediated divorces end up back in court as opposed to 35% of litigated divorces.
|What is the difference between Divorce Mediation and "Collaborative Law"?
|Collaborative Law is a recent concept where the attorneys agree to represent a divorce client but also insist that they will not continue representation if the case ends up in litigation. In theory the concept is very close to mediation and has had some success in resolving cases out of court.
- Pros -
- It uses a model of alternative dispute resolution similar to mediation.
- If successful the parties will not have to go to court saving time and money.
- The attorneys are committed to get a resolution that both parties are comfortable with and not endless fighting like an adversarial attorney would do.
- Cons -
- Both parties must have attorneys that agree to the collaborative law terms. If not then the process will not work.
- Unless one attorney is male and the other female you may comprise the level playing field and risk that one perspective will not be given the merit it deserves.
- Attorneys are trained to be advocates and may have a difficult time "changing hats" to be collaborative. It goes against everything they are taught. Only the most open-minded attorneys can be successful and even then they need training and skills to be a mediator.
Bottom line: Mediation is still a more proven process and finding two attorney's to play by the rules may be difficult. Mediation will likely cost less and take much less time as well.
|How Long Will it Take and How much does Divorce Mediation Cost?
|This is the number one asked to us by divorcing couples. Quite frankly this is amazing! This should be the last question asked. If you needed and emergency heart transplant would you shop around until you found the cheapest surgeon? Would you go to the Dominican Republic if you found out you could get it there for half the cost? If you have been married for any reasonable amount of time and especially if you have kids then you should know that the decision to get divorced and how that divorce will be done is every bit as big of a decision as having a heart transplant!
Cost and duration obviously depends on the level of conflict and/or level of complexity that is in the divorce. To get an idea of how complex your divorce is or what the level of conflict is, please refer to our Divorce Level Questionnaire.
Is it cheaper than going through the legal process using adversarial attorneys? Absolutely! (See Litigation vs. Mediation) But if you hoping mediation will only cost 100.00 then don't waste anymore time considering at it as a possibility. We have multiple payment options for every couple's situation from hourly fee's to even a flat fee option. Schedule a free consultation with one of the mediators and they will ask you some specific questions about your situation and be able to suggest a payment type that will work best for you.