Divorce mediation is a cooperative process that helps people make practical, informed decisions and develop mutually acceptable agreements concerning the issues involved in a divorce. This is done by meeting with a trained mediator.
Mediators help the people involved discuss their situation, clarify the issues, gather relevant information, and explore possible solutions. The goal is to achieve a realistic agreement that is acceptable to everyone involved. The parties propose and discuss their own settlement options with guidance from the mediator. This process encourages meaningful communication so that everyone’s goals can be explored and addressed.
A mediator does not give legal advice or decide who is right or wrong. He or she simply works with the participants to create an agreement that satisfies both parties. When all of the issues have been resolved and both parties approve the agreement, it can be signed and incorporated into a judgment of divorce.
Preparing for Divorce Mediation
Divorce mediation is most efficient and cost-effective when you bring the necessary information to the first session. You may be asked to bring information such as previous tax statements, W2 forms, and other account statements. We will help you identify the information you need when you call and speak with a case manager.
We encourage you to think about the topics you would like to address during mediation. Many couples ask us to help mediate specific issues, such as:
- Personal property and real estate division
- Debts and assets
- Parenting time and exchange
- Parenting planning (i.e. discipline, education, holidays, religious observances, etc)
- Family business matters
- Future communication plan
- Child/spousal support
Does Mediation Replace the Need for Legal Advice?
Mediators do not provide legal advice or representation. It is strongly recommended that each party consult with their own attorney, usually between mediation sessions. While mediation may reduce the need for legal services, it is wise to consult with an attorney during the process to stay informed about your legal rights.
What Does Divorce Mediation Cost?
Generally, mediation costs less than litigation. Fees are determined on a sliding scale based on each individual’s income and household size. A separate fee is due for intake and for each mediation session. The number and frequency of sessions depend on the complexity of issues to be resolved, the amount of relevant information to be gathered, and the pace with which parties feel comfortable. On average, a divorce mediation requires 1-4 sessions. The Dispute Resolution Center charges a flat fee of $200 per party for intake and up to 3 hours of mediation.
We also offer Domestic Mediation Services. Click here for more information.