Frequently Asked Questions
It is difficult to forecast precisely how long a mediation will take or how much mediation will cost. These issues are driven by how agreeable the participants are and how complex the matter is. Generally, for divorces, we meet between two and six times for approximately two hours each meeting. The meetings are charged hourly. A retainer amount will be quoted at the initial meeting for document preparation on a case by case basis. We offer a free telephone consultation with a mediator to assist you in assessing the cost for your matter.
Any agreements that you already have prior to our mediation will certainly help keep the cost of the mediation down. If you have already agreed to issues, we will assist you in working out the logistics and enforcement mechanisms and will formally incorporate these terms into the appropriate Property Settlement Agreement for filing with the Court. What is included in your Agreement is up to you with our direction. Our firm will ensure that all important terms are considered and included in an enforceable manner.
To date, our firm has successfully reached full agreements with over 92% of our mediation clients.
All discussions and materials provided during the mediation process are confidential. If you are unable to reach an agreement, evidence of the mediation discussions, and documents provided will not be admissible in Court or any other adversarial proceeding.
The parties’ individual responsibility for the mediation costs is an issue that will be agreed upon by the mediation participants. Parties are encouraged to consider a fee sharing structure so that both will benefit from the expeditious and economic resolution.
We will always advise mediation participants to seek independent legal advice for any mediated Settlement Agreement or to inquire about individual obligations or entitlements under the law prior to your signing that Agreement. This legal advice may be best obtained early in the mediation, by a consultation or by review of a drafted Agreement. Independent legal consultation could elevate your comfort and confidence in the final Agreement.
In many cases mediation participants may wish to retain mutually-trusted experts for the valuation of real property, retirement assets or a business. It is also not uncommon for mediating parties to choose to jointly consult with an accountant or tax expert. Parties with parenting concerns may wish to consult with a child psychologist.
Perhaps the most important thing any mediating party can do to ensure a satisfying and successful mediation experience is to prepare for the mediation discussions by seeking clarity as to his or her desired outcomes and perceived standards of fairness. Further, prepare two copies of documentation of income, assets and debts. Also, seeking information from your employers concerning the breakdown of insurance plans and clarification of retirement and other employee related perks will assist in expediting the mediation process.