What Are The Benefits of Mediation?
Mediation is a non-adversarial process that generally resolves disputes more quickly, is less costly and provides greater privacy than court. Mediation works because it educates the parties concerning their adversaries’ position, provides the parties the opportunity to present settlement positions absent the posturing which frequently accompanies traditional negotiation, and enables disputants to come to an informed settlement, thereby overcoming the risks associated with a forced decision by the court. In domestic relations cases mediation reduces the likelihood of post-divorce conflict and repeated court hearings because the couple has developed their agreement cooperatively. In my experience, mediation is the most civil and cost-effective method of obtaining a divorce.
Is Mediation Appropriate for Families With Children?
Yes. Mediation is very beneficial to the children of divorcing parents because parents work together to resolve parenting issues and the child is not caught in the middle. The latest research on divorce and children suggests that how parents go about divorcing, not necessarily the fact that they are divorcing, has the greatest impact on children. Ongoing conflict between you, the parents, is what is most damaging to your children. In Arizona, divorcing families with minor children are required to try to resolve parental time issues through the use of mediation prior to seeking the assistance of the court. As an experienced family mediator, I share the creative solutions other parents have successfully utilized in similar circumstances.
How does mediation work?
You will meet together and also separately with the mediator to work out the major issues raised by the decision to divorce. Your mediator will help identify the issues you need to resolve, and help guide you through the decision-making process toward agreements that are acceptable to each of you. An average case involves 2-4 mediation sessions of two hours each. The mediator will then draft a memorandum of understanding for your review. The agreement becomes the basis for an uncontested divorce. Frequently no court appearance is necessary
What are the steps involved?
First, the process is explained and you are mailed or download a packet of intake forms. Click HERE for mediation or Parenting Coordination (PC) intake forms. With the assistance of the forms, you gather the information needed, such as appraisals, pay stubs and bank statements, for the decisions you will make during your mediation sessions. At your first mediation session you identify the issues you need to discuss, as well as additional information which may be required. Then you take the time to consider available options to resolve these issues. If you are able to settle these matters, the mediator drafts a memorandum which incorporates the agreements you have reached. The mediator cannot force you to reach an agreement or make the final decisions for you.
What issues are dealt with in divorce mediation?
Clients can choose to talk about a wide range of concerns; however, typically couples in divorce in Arizona need to resolve:
Parenting arrangements and legal custody
Child Support - click here for the Arizona Child Support Calculator
Division of community property
Post dissolution modifications
How Long Does Mediation Take?
Mediation varies in length depending on the complexity of the issues involved and the readiness of the parties. Mediation sessions are usually held weekly and are approximately two hours in length. While it can take less or more time, the average mediation involves two to five sessions.
What if I’ve already been to an attorney?
Many divorce mediation clients are represented by an attorney. Mediation is not a substitute for the services of an attorney. Your mediator may be an attorney, but will not represent or give legal advice to you or your spouse. You will be encouraged to consult with your attorney; however your attorney will serve as your personal advisor, rather than represent you in an adversarial proceeding. While the decisions in mediation are made by you, they should be informed decisions. If you do not have an attorney and you feel you need one, we can help you find one.
What does it cost?
Mediators charge an hourly fee that is usually shared by both parties. Because you and your spouse are doing the negotiating instead of your lawyers, the costs of a mediated divorce are typically much less than a conventional divorce. Further, you’re paying one mediator instead of two attorneys. Even the most highly adversarial circumstances can benefit from mediation-you don’t have to be amicable to save money and make reasonable decisions.
How Do I Schedule An Appointment?
Please call us at 881-2021, or email at the address below, to schedule an appointment, or if you would like more information.