Happy Family

Mediation: The Alternative to Costly Litigation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Who should mediate?
Couples who want to create their own solutions rather than having a court mandate a solution for them should consider mediation. Most couples can benefit from mediation when going through the difficult process of separation and divorce. Even where there is high conflict in the relationship, mediation is often the best way to resolve disputes in a fair and equitable manner. Litigation often increases stress and animosity between parties. Mediation creates an atmosphere where the stress and anger are decreased. However there are some circumstances, such as where there has been physical abuse, when mediation may not be appropriate. A preliminary conversation with one of our mediators can help you determine if mediation is right for you. Back to top
How to choose the right mediator for you?
Choose a mediator experienced in family law and the divorce process. Choose someone that both parties are comfortable with and can speak honestly to during the sessions. At A Smarter Divorce the mediators are attorneys who have decades of experience in family law litigation and mediation. They are familiar with the financial and emotional aspects of divorce. They understand that divorce is unique to each couple and will help you find resolutions to your unique disputes. The team approach of A Smarter Divorce encourages parties to seek out not only the right mediator, but also the right experts to advise them and guide them toward resolution. Back to top
How does the mediator get the necessary information?
At A Smarter Divorce we can call upon experts in various fields to assist us in gathering all of the information needed. The parties can hire a financial advisor, an appraiser, a child psychologist, or any other type of expert needed to help the couple come to a resolution. During litigation the parties each have their own expert. It is therefore twice as expensive and probably not that helpful to a Judge listening to competing analysis. In mediation, both parties agree upon one expert thereby saving time and money and getting information that is unbiased. Back to top
How long does mediation take?
Depending upon the number of issues and the areas of disagreement, the process could take as little as 2-3 sessions or may take weeks. Either way, it is months shorter than waiting for a court date to resolve the issues in a heated atmosphere. The mediators will determine how many sessions will probably be necessary to resolve the conflict and come up with an agreement. The parties pay for the sessions plus any preparation time on an hourly basis. The parties will sign a contract that will outline all of their financial responsibilities. Back to top
What are the long term benefits of mediation?
The vast majority of parties who have mediated their disputes do not use the court system for any future disputes. Through mediation parties learn how to resolve disputes which arise after mediation is concluded. This is especially important for couples who have children. Back to top
Why is mediation a cost effective method?
In litigation, each party pays their own lawyer to gather vast amounts of documentation, hire their own experts and prepare for trial. In mediation the couple shares all necessary information and the costs of any experts needed to evaluate that information. If custody is an issue, the parties can agree to hire one child development expert to help them come to a decision that is in the best interests of their children. Back to top
How successful is mediation?
Mediation works in a vast majority of cases. When parties are motivated to keep their disputes out of the courtroom, mediation can be very successful. However, mediation does not always work. If one party is determined to have a day in court, resolution may be difficult. If both sides are not honest and open about their true needs and interests for a resolution of the dispute, then mediation cannot work. At A Smarter Divorce, we will discuss your individual situation in an initial conversation to determine if we believe mediation is appropriate for your case. Back to top
When do I mediate?
A couple can mediate before they separate to come up with either a temporary agreement or a final agreement. They can mediate after their separation but before they file for divorce or they can mediate after the divorce is filed. They can also mediate post-divorce issues such as modifications of custody, visitation, and child support. Back to top
Is mediation only for divorcing couples?
No. Couples who are simply contemplating separation can benefit from mediating their disputes. Couples who are not married can mediate both custody and visitation issues and any financial issues. Both traditional and non-traditional families can mediate issues. Back to top
Can mediators give me legal advice?
At A Smarter Divorce we can advise couples of the statutes and case law. Based upon our experience, we can give you a probable range of financial and custody options. We cannot advise you whether or not to agree to any specific settlement. Couples can seek the advice of an attorney. Back to top
Won’t I get a better settlement through litigation than mediation?
What could be better than a resolution that you agreed to? In court, the judge makes all the decisions about your future: how much money you will have for support, when you will see your children, who gets the furniture. In mediation, you decide all of those issues. By giving your case to a lawyer and putting it in the hands of a judge, you are relying on gamesmanship and chance. A lawyer cannot assure you of any result. Through mediation, you keep control of the process, create your own solutions, save money, save time, save the children from stress, and save your friends from a lot of war stories about how the judge didn’t understand the case. Back to top