What is Mediation?
Divorce mediation is a collaborative process guided by a mediator who is trained in facilitation and the divorce process. Mediators guide the couple through the many different decisions that couples need to make about parenting and financial issues, and help them resolve disagreements about how to handle those issues.
In litigation, a third party (the judge) makes the decisions for you, and imposes an outcome. The judge has a very limited amount of time to make decisions on these issues — issues which can have a significant impact on your lives for years to come.
Mediation keeps these decisions in your hands. You and your spouse know your situation better than anyone, so you know best what outcome makes the most sense for you and your family.
The fact that the couple has full control of the outcome is empowering—and at the same time, it may feel daunting that the outcome is up to you! Rest assured that mediator will guide you through the process and help you if you get stuck.
The mediator guides you through the process and helps you talk through all the issues you will need to cover as part of divorce. There are lot of decisions to make, especially if you have minor children. If you have trouble coming to agreement on certain topics, the mediator’s training in facilitation and conflict dynamics can help you have an effective discussion and negotiation.
Another advantage of mediation is that the process is focused on solutions and the future. In litigation, essentially all effort and expense is expended in talking about the past, and trying to prove that the other person is wrong. Mediation helps you get unstuck from the past and move forward.
How long does it take?
Erik generally schedules mediation sessions that are two hours long. This is enough time to make some good progress, but not so much time that you feel overwhelmed or drained.
For a divorce mediation, the number of sessions required varies depending on how complex your finances and parenting situation are, and how well you work together. Most couples need 3–4 mediation sessions.
What happens after we reach agreement?
Once you have agreement on the issues, the mediator can create the court documents for you. You can then each have an attorney review the documents and agreements if you choose.
When you are ready to file, you can print all the documents, sign them, and submit them all to the court. This is an “uncontested divorce”, and costs $90 to file. (A contested divorce costs $295 to file, and requires a longer court process.)
Advantages of mediation
- Solutions-oriented: The focus is on solutions, guided by a neutral third party.
- Control of the outcome: You know best what will work for you and your family.
- Adequate time: You can take the time you need to create a solution that works for you.
- Shorter time to resolution: No need to be constrained by the court’s schedule, which can take months for a hearing.
- Lower cost: Cost is generally under $3,000 for mediation sessions and paperwork. (If you work well together, it may be substantially less.)