The Process of Working With a Mediator
Here are some important things to keep in mind as you enter the process of mediation. After you are supplied with the Agreement to Mediate and it is signed by both parties, the mediator and the parties develop an agenda of the issues to discuss and start gathering information and documents as follows:
- All the assets and debts so parties can make fully informed decisions about their division of property
- Income and expenses so parties can decide what support is needed, the amount of support and for how long
- Children’s and parents’ needs and interests so the parents can develop a parenting plan which will work for everyone
Throughout the process, the mediator facilitates communication so that each party can safely express what is important to them and why. The mediator assists both parties in negotiating an agreement that meets their individual and family needs, interests and values. The goal is for the parties to reach an agreement that will be considered fair and acceptable and honored by both parties now and in the future.
How long does divorce mediation take?
At South Bay Mediation, a full, comprehensive divorce averages between 3 to 6 or 8 sessions with the mediator.
Some people take less time and some take more time, depending on the complexity and number of issues, and the level of conflict. Each session is a minimum of one hour, and is usually between 1 1⁄2 to 2 hours. The parties and mediator together decide when and how often they will meet. The range of time to complete a mediation and obtain a final divorce can be anywhere between a few weeks to a few years. The timing depends on the readiness of each party.
What does divorce mediation cost?
The total cost at South Bay Mediation for a full, comprehensive divorce mediation, including preparing and filing all of the legal paperwork necessary to obtain a final judgment from the court, has averaged about $2500 to $4000. Compare this to divorces obtained by traditional representation where each party hires their own attorney and each pays a $5,000 initial retainer which must be replenished as it is used up. In traditional representation, it is not unusual for each party to pay between $20,000 and $50,000 to obtain a final divorce. To learn more about our current applicable fees, please contact your mediator or mediation team directly.
I think I might need an attorney. Do I have to give up having an attorney if I do mediation?
No. You may have your own attorney to serve as your advisor at any time during the process. The parties decide what level of involvement their attorneys will have in the mediation. Some people do not want to have an attorney at all. Others want to have an attorney that they can consult with outside of the mediation when they feel the need to. A few people may have their attorney attend mediation sessions with them, provided both parties agree. At South Bay Mediation, we strongly advise, and sometimes insist, that each party have a consulting attorney review the final Marital Settlement Agreement. For further questions and to learn more about working with a mediator in detail please do not hesitate to contact us.