Answers to the Ten Most Frequent Questions about Online Divorce Mediation
DIANNE ANSWERS THE TEN MOST FREQUENT QUESTIONS ABOUT DISSOLUTION MEDIATION:
1. IF MY SPOUSE AND I DON'T GET ALONG, HOW CAN WE MEDIATE?
It is natural to have a myriad of emotions surrounding divorce or a custody dispute, including feelings of anger, distrust, betrayal, self-doubt, and more. My purpose, as your Mediator, is to defuse these thoughts, at least during our mediation sessions. A neutral, business-like atmosphere is established which makes these types of emotions feel out of place, and typically they naturally stay "out of mediation."A therapist’s office is the place for these emotions to surface and be discussed, not during mediation sessions.
2. HOW DO I GET MY SPOUSE TO AGREE TO MEDIATION?
Most parties refuse to enter mediation because they lack knowledge about the process. Once they know all the benefits of mediation and the pitfalls of litigation, converting them is easy. My website is designed to educate parties so that they will understand the incredible benefits of mediation and enter the process without much persuasion required.
3. I AM NOT AS KNOWLEDGEABLE AS MY SPOUSE. HOW CAN I AVOID BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF IN MEDIATION?
One of my purposes, as a Mediator, is to level the playing field. I will be certain that each party thoroughly understands every aspect of their case and the proposed settlement before any agreements are reached.
Full disclosure is also required in the mediation (as well as under the law.) All questions of each spouse must be answered and documents exchanged before a settlement is obtained.
4. ISN'T MEDIATION AND THERAPY THE SAME THING?
The purpose of therapy is to assist individuals in resolving their emotional problems. Some couples attend therapy to attempt to reconcile their marriage. Dissolution Mediation is a completely different process. The goal of our Mediation is to help spouses make healthy decisions resolving issues in their divorce and/or custody dispute.
5. WHAT ISSUES ARE DEALT WITH IN MEDIATION?
There is no limit to the issues which can be resolved. Typically they include custodial arrangements with the children, child support, spousal support, and the evaluation and division of assets and obligations. Because Mediation involves a process specifically adapted to the parties' needs and desires, many creative solutions to the issues may be obtained, rather than following "typical court orders."
6. ISN'T THERE A LARGE FEE PAYABLE UPFRONT?
A Divorce Mediation Retainer fee is always substantially less than the typical divorce retainer fee. The ultimate fees paid are also much less because of the efficiency of the Mediation Process. There is no payment for waiting times, driving times, office visits, court appearances, correspondence, and calls between attorneys, etc.
7. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?
The answer to this question depends upon the individual case. Some parties wish to expedite the process, scheduling sessions just a few days apart and/or have only a few issues to resolve. These cases can be finished with just a few mediation sessions. Other cases have complex personal or custodial issues or complex asset issues and require more time. Dissolution Mediation is always faster than waiting for the court's schedule and attorneys' calendars.
8. MY SPOUSE IS OVERBEARING AND I AM AFRAID TO HAVE AN OPEN AND HONEST DISCUSSION WITH HIM OR HER. CAN I MEET WITH THE MEDIATOR WITHOUT MY SPOUSE PRESENT?
Different Mediators have different techniques. With my 30 +years of experience, I find the traditional mediation process of having the parties in the same room is not appropriate in divorce and custody cases. There is just too much emotion and history to make a mediation process work with parties at war. If a mediator conducts the mediation sessions properly, the mediator can meet with the spouses individually and relay the information and offers back and forth between the parties. It takes an experienced mediator, however, to handle this process correctly. The mediator has to be a very good listener and capable of rephrasing a spouse's information and desires to be certain they are being relayed accurately and appropriately.
9. CAN I BRING MY ATTORNEY TO THE MEDIATION SESSIONS?
I do not believe attorneys should be involved in the mediation process. Spouses must keep an open mind and feel free to express themselves. They should be creative with their resolutions and be active participants. Attorneys hamper this process. I do, however, strongly suggest that each party meet with an attorney one time before signing final documents.
10. IS DIVORCE MEDIATION RIGHT FOR US?
If you wish to avoid an emotionally traumatic, lengthy, and expensive divorce or custody action, then Mediation is for you. You must be willing, however, to come to Mediation with the understanding that you will be making compromises voluntarily, rather than having the judicial system force you to do so. You have to be willing to act in good faith, with full disclosure, and with the attitude that you are expecting a fair and reasonable resolution for both of you.
If you want everything and are not willing to give in to anything, then litigation, and all of the pain and suffering that accompany it, are for you.