The Family Mediation Process
As a meditator, I offer divorcing, separating and other couples a fair process in which they can discuss and decide for themselves arrangements for their children, support and property division. The husband and wife jointly hire me to act not as the attorney for either or both, but as a neutral mediator. During a series of mediation sessions, the couple works out a mutually satisfactory plan covering the children’s living arrangements, the financial needs of each member of the family, the home, and other assets and debts of the parties. Both are free to consult with a lawyer or other advisor at any time. The process is designed to reduce the adversarial element often encountered in a divorce proceeding and to save time and money as well.
Once an agreement is reached, I will write a draft for the husband and wife to review with his or her lawyer before signing. The completed and signed agreement is enforceable and may be presented to the court for approval.
The Requirement of Commitment
The mediation process will work only if the husband and wife are willing to make a good faith effort to reach an agreement. There is no legal obligation to agree; any commitment to the process and its result comes voluntarily from the people involved.
The Benefits of Mediation
The mediation process can be significantly less expensive and less painful for the family than the protracted battles, which are often part of divorce or other family litigation. When children are involved, studies indicate divorce agreements mutually agreed upon by husband and wife are usually far better for the children than those imposed by court order. The structured process allows the husband and wife to establish their own goals and design for themselves, with help, the best way to use their own resources.
The Cost of Mediation
I charge on an hourly rate for my services. Most couples take about ten hours of mediator time to complete their agreement. A retainer is requested at the onset, to be applied against billed time and expenses. If the mediation ends in less time, I reimburse money not earned or spent on necessary expenses.