Contracting For Resolution: What To Know About Divorce Mediation

Mediating issues as a way of resolving problems in various fields is nothing new and even divorce mediation is gaining popularity. As a matter of fact, some states now require that couples go through mediation before they can take their divorce cases to court. Whether required or not, saving time, money and, stress is a very good thing. Read on for what you should know about divorce mediation.

Mediators are not lawyers, but they are experts

Your attorney can likely recommend mediators or the courts might provide you with a list of certified divorce mediators from which to choose. When it comes to hammering things out without a judge present, mediation provides the couple with a chance to have a neutral third party listen to grievances and to oversee the mediation process. Before you commit to mediation, you will be signing a contract so make sure you understand all aspects of it.

Be aware of the cost

Mediation expenses are not a normal part of the divorce process and should be considered an extra expense. The contract will display the amount the mediator charges, which varies depending on your location. Often, the fees are based on an hourly rate. Some mediators are paid at each session (about an hour) and some offer flat fees. The results of a successful mediation is a legally-binding agreement and you can expect an additional charge for the preparation of this important document. You should take a moment to consider the difference in cost between hiring a mediator and taking your case to court.

The role of the mediator

You may be accustomed to seeking and receiving divorce-related advice from your attorney, but the divorce mediator will never offer legal advice. While they are certified in their field, they are not (usually) lawyers. Your attorney won't play an integral part in the mediation process but should continue to be consulted about any issue that arises inside or outside of mediation. Your divorce attorney should review any agreement before you commit to it by signing it. Mediation agreements that are signed become a part of the divorce case and are fully enforceable.

When mediation happens

You can seek help through this process prior to going to court or at any time during court. While you are in mediation, all litigation, motions, hearings, and other legal actions are suspended. Depending on how many issues are in contention, mediation can take several weeks to accomplish. A big part of mediation is full disclosure; without honesty and a willingness to compromise, mediation will be a waste of time and money. To learn more about mediation, speak to your divorce attorney, especially if you have a high asset divorce.