Thrive Mediation Services
Mediation is an informal and confidential way for people to resolve disputes with the help of a neutral mediator who is trained to help people discuss their differences. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or issue a decision. Instead, the mediator helps the parties work out their own solutions to problems.
- Child Support
- Equitable Distribution:
- Other issues the arise in the context of a couple in the process of separation/divorce
What is family/divorce mediation ?
Divorce mediation is cost-effective and alternative to court litigation for resolving disputes that arise as two people separate their lives. A mediator helps the couple to work through the issues of their divorce and reach a mutually agreeable settlement.
Benefits of Family/Divorce Mediation
There are a number of significant benefits of mediation. You will find that Collaborative Law shares many of these same benefits as well. Some of the benefits of mediation include:
- Avoid Court battles. Mediation clients typically do not go to court. At the end of the negotiations the mediator will prepare memorandum of understanding. Both parties’ lawyers can review and agreement and file it with the court as a consent order.
- Quick Resolutions. Litigated divorces can take as little as six months and as long as several years. Recently, nationwide budget cuts have required courts to reduce staff and even cut the number of days courts are open, all of which means it will take longer to actually get to court. Mediations, on the other hand, occur on the participants’ timeline and can therefore be done far quicker, often in as little as a couple of months (or less).
- More Control. Mediation clients decide the terms of their own agreement with the assistance of the mediator. There is no final agreement unless both clients agree to it. Mediation allows you to eliminate the possibility that a judge will order something that makes no sense to you.
- Significantly Reduced Cost. Divorce litigation is very expensive and the total cost is highly unpredictable. Mediation costs far less because the focus is on constructive resolution, not “destroying” the other side. Mediation is far less expensive because you spend your time actively working on resolving your case rather than filing motions, etc. Further, mediation costs are predictable because you are present for most (if not all) of the time the mediator spends on your case.
- Better Outcome. Mediation participants report a high degree of satisfaction with both the process of mediation and the mediated agreements they reach. Even if a litigation client is satisfied with the outcome, they are typically dissatisfied with the cost, stress, uncertainty and acrimony associated with litigation. Further, if one litigant is happy with the outcome, that usually means the other litigant is unhappy and may file an appeal. And that could lead to more expenses on post-divorce complications.
- Maintains Privacy. Mediation is a private process which usually takes place in a mediator’s office or a lawyer’s office rather than in a public courtroom. Generally speaking, mediation clients are allowed to decide what goes into the paperwork (which still becomes public record). In litigated cases you often have ugly allegations and personal information that ends up in the public record, whereas mediation allows you to avoid that.
- Preserves Relationships. Whether in business or in family disputes, preservation of relationships can be a key benefit of mediation. Mediation helps participants focus on effectively communicating with one another as opposed to attacking one another.
What happens during mediation ?
Both parties have the opportunity to raise issues of concern and to explain the facts of the dispute as each person sees them. The mediator then asks questions to identify those parenting and economic issues that require discussion. Once the mediator and parties have identified the issues for discussion, the mediator helps the parties work collaboratively to explore and choose options that meet the parties’ needs. Although most information is exchanged with everyone at the table, there may come a time when either party, the party’s counsel or the mediator suggests a caucus. During the caucus, the mediator meets individually with each party to explore how the parties view the dispute and the impact of any proposed solutions. The mediator does not share any information discussed in caucus without the disclosing party’s permission.
If the parties agree to a parenting plan that resolves the issues of child custody, visitation or financial issues, that agreement will be returned to the referring Justice for review. If approved, the agreement may be incorporated in the court’s Order or Judgment of Divorce. If the parties are unable to reach agreement on some or all of the issues, they return to court.
How many sessions do you need ?
Generally number of sessions are dependent on how many issues and how complex issues are. Most people opt for mediation are trying to resolve the matter amicably hence mediator is able to make quick progress.
Average divorce in which couple need to discuss custody arrangements, equitable distribution, alimony, child support, finances, taxes etc is expected to take 4-7 sessions.
Less complex divorce in which most terms are already agreed upon and/or mostly financial separation is required is expected to take 3-4 sessions.
Complex divorce, in which there are high conflict and/or complex issues could need more sessions and in some cases sessions with lawyers can be requested for.