What is Mediation and how does it work?
Mediation is an informal process by which both parties can come together with an impartial third party that can assist them in coming to a non-litigated solution to their family law case. First, the parties come to the mediation together and meet with the mediator. Each party has an opportunity to say what they need to say in a respectful and positive manner. It is strongly suggested that a summary of the issues is prepared for the mediatior to get a sense of what the most important issues are for each party. Usually your attorney prepares this crucial document and presents it at the beginning of the session. This leads to a more productive session and it is more conducive to resolve the issues before the court.
In the event that the parties are too highly emotional, the mediator will separate the parties into what is known as a caucus. Here, each party has an opportunity to share alone with the mediator without the discomfort of having to share certain information in the presence of their spouse or partner. Everything said in Mediation is confidential.
If each party knows what they want and what is still left for negotiation, the mediator/facilitator can guide the parties to a fair and equitable resolution without the court’s intervention.
How much does it cost? Depending on the issues such as parental responsibility, time sharing, child support, equitable distribution and depending upon how readily the parties are willing and able to settle, it could conclude in as little as 3 hours and as much as 10 or more hours. Most private mediators cost between $250.00 per hour to $350.00 per hour.
Generally speaking, a minimum of three hours is required at the beginning of the session to begin. It is important to note that the parties must first gather all their financial documentation in order to accurately mediate a case. So when in doubt, bring the requisite documents for a better defined and complete mediated agreement.