Frequently Asked Questions

 

Questions

  1. What is mediation?
  2. Why would I mediate instead of litigate?
  3. Who can participate in mediation?
  4. If we cannot communicate with each other, how will we be able to communicate through the divorce mediation process?
  5. What kinds of topics are discussed in mediation?
  6. By choosing mediation, do I give up any rights that I or my children may be entitled to?
  7. Can I withdraw from mediation?
  8. Is mediation legally binding?
  9. Do I need a lawyer for mediation?
  10. How long does divorce mediation take?
  11. How much does it cost to mediate a divorce?
 

Answers

  1. What is mediation?

    Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process for resolving conflict with the assistance of a neutral third party, the mediator. In divorce mediation, divorcing couples work with the mediator to reach a mutual and informed agreement for the terms of their divorce, separation, or post-divorce dispute. The parties make decisions based on their understanding of their own views, each other’s views, and the reality they each face.

  2. Why would I mediate instead of litigate?

    In a traditional divorce, parties rely on lawyers to define their needs and expectations based on the lawyers’ understanding and application of the law. Even without going to trial, the traditional divorce process is inherently adversarial with both parties assuming positions and strategies advocated by their lawyers.

    Because mediation is a non-adversarial process in which the parties, not their lawyers, are empowered to make their own decisions, mediation serves to reduce the tension and trauma associated with divorce, not increase it. Divorce mediation is a good choice if both spouses want to avoid the contentious and costly nature of the traditional adversarial process. Participants are more often satisfied with the process and outcome of a mediated, rather than a litigated, settlement.

  3. Who participates in the mediation session?

    Our mediations are generally conducted with only the parties and the mediator. However, with the consent of both parties, other participants can be helpful and are welcome in the mediation. Other participants might include attorneys, financial advisors, accountants, and child psychologists.

  4. If we cannot communicate with each other, how will we be able to communicate through the divorce mediation process?

    As divorce mediators, we are specifically trained to help couples with communication problems. We encourage parties to move beyond past patterns and “getting stuck” in what went wrong in the past. Instead, parties focus on what they want in the future, for themselves and their children. One of our primary roles as mediators is to help couples shift into new and productive ways of communicating and problem-solving, even while they are working towards their divorce.

  5. What kinds of topics are discussed in mediation?

    Divorce mediation can raise a range of topics, but typically the two main topics of discussion are finances and children.

    Based on our experience, the confluence of these two topics is where the most challenging work often lies. We help parents navigate the challenges of dividing parenting time and sharing assets to minimize friction in the family. A good financial plan means less tension between parents. And, less tension between parents means less tension for the children involved.

  6. By choosing mediation, do I give up any rights that I or my children may be entitled to?

    No. Divorce mediation is an alternative to adversarial proceedings or negotiations. All issues that would normally be addressed in adversarial proceedings or negotiations, including child support and parenting arrangements, are discussed in mediation. In working through differences with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial agreement, neither party should need to give up any of his or her entitlements.

  7. Can I withdraw from mediation?

    Yes. Divorce mediation is a voluntary process. This means that both parties must be willing participants. If either you or your spouse is unhappy with the progress of the mediation at any time before a final agreement has been signed, you may withdraw.

  8. Is mediation legally binding?

    Yes. Once a mediated agreement is signed, it will be binding as a legal contract and may be submitted to the Court to finalize a divorce.

  9. Do I need a lawyer for mediation?

    We strongly recommend to all of our clients that at some point before the final agreement is signed, each party consult with an independent attorney to review the mediated agreement. The time this attorney will spend reviewing the agreement is significantly less than would have been spent during adversarial negotiations or court proceedings, generally totaling only a few hours.

  10. How long does divorce mediation take?

    Each mediation session usually lasts two hours. The number of sessions varies depending on the complexity of the issues and the needs of the parties. Successful mediations usually take from three to ten sessions. In nearly all cases, mediation takes far less time than litigation.

  11. How much does it cost to mediate a divorce?

    The cost of a mediated divorce varies depending on the complexity of the couple’s situation, but it is generally a fraction the cost of a litigated divorce. Stalder Raich charges an hourly rate for mediations. Please contact us for our rates.