Can I get a mediated divorce? 35 Answers as of August 05, 2011

I would like to get a mediator for my divorce, but I am not sure if this is the best for my situation. What are the benefits of having a mediated divorce versus a contested divorce? Does it make the process any easier if I hired a mediator?

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Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
Trying to settle at mediation is always the best route.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/5/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
The benefit of a mediated divorce is that, if successful, it avoids the adversary experience, stress and expense of a litigated divorce. The mediator needs to be jointly hired by the parties, and represents neither party. Each party should still retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to advise him/her, since the mediator should be independent and unbiased, and cannot provide legal advice to either party.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/28/2011
Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
It can't hurt to try. The mediation process is confidential and will not be used against you. If it works, you have saved time, money and frustration. If it doesn't work, then you simply move on to the contested process. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/28/2011
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
Most courts are going to require you to attempt mediation unless you are able to come to an agreement concerning the issues of your divorce. The advantages of a mediated divorce is that you have more of a say in how the issues are resolved, instead of leaving it to a judge who does not know that much about your situation.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/27/2011
Osterman Law LLC
Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
I am not sure why you would want to put your trust in a mediator. A judge is just a mediator with a sword that commands that things be done. A mediator's view of things can be ignored if one party or the other does not like the mediator's report. Next comes why do we have to have a mediation? The question suggested there is a great deal of property or other matters that are unresolved. There are other solutions than just simply running to a mediator. In the past 8 years I have had nothing but difficulties through mediation in divorce cases. I am to the point that I rarely use mediation to resolve disputes over property. I would much rather take my chances in front of Judge and put forward both my arguments and evidence than to simply rely upon a summary provided to a mediator. Mediation is excellent in matters where there is compromise. Litigation is where you go when there is no compromise. I hope this helps. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 7/27/2011
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
    Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
    Mediation can save thousands of dollars in attorney fees, and remove the emotional drain of a contested trial. Both parties must have a goal to reasonably resolve the case, and leave emotions out of the process. If the parties will remove the emotions, and come to the settlement proceedings with a business attitude, in compliance with the California Family Code, and truly consider the best interest of the children, the resulting benefits cannot be matched. Another benefit is that nothing said in a mediation can later be used in court, so the parties are free to explain their case in an open atmosphere which can help reduce tensions if the explanation is factual, and not spiteful.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    If you and your spouse decide to mediate you both hire the mediator. They sit down with you and try to work out an agreement between the two of you.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    Using mediation as a way to go through your divorce has many advantages. In addition to saving legal fees (as there is just the one mediator fee) you also work through the difficult issues and questions together, trying to meet each others interests with the help of the mediator (who can usually hear those interests and restate those even when the parties cannot), as opposed to becoming positional with the usual process. It also helps you to communicate in the future especially if you have children.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    A mediated divorce will not, in my opinion work. A mediated dissolution will The difference is that with a dissolution, the parties are still civil and are willing to work with someone (a mediator) toward the greater good. In my practice, I interview both husband and wife, and when suitable, arrange for them to meet with a mediator I know with whom I have had success. Popular now is also the conciliation divorce where all of your professionals - lawyer accountant and financial advisor work together to fairly create two families from one.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    A mediator may not be needed even if it is a contested divorce. If the two attorneys can draft agreements and speak with the two parties (you and your spouse) to represent your wishes, then one agreement which reflects the two of you can be entered into and presented to the court.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    If you and your spouse are able to agree on all issues in the divorce, a mediated divorce will work well for you. However, a mediator cannot make either of you agree to any issues so if there are large issues of contention, a mediation may not work for you. The advantage to mediation is that it is a cooperative effort between the parties to come up with a divorce agreement that works for both of them. You should consult with your spouse and see if they are open to a mediation. If so, then you should hire a mediator.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Typically, mediation is a more cost effective way to resolve a divorce. It can also reduce the heartache and stress.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    Mediation is a more cost effective way of going but it requires two people willing to and sincerely putting out the effort to reach agreements. The down side is if it doesn't work you are back to square one and will have to go through the normal process afterwards.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    If the two people are involved and committed to the process mediation can often be more amicable and less expensive.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    The benefits are enormous if the mediation is successful. Basically it can be boiled down to this, at mediation (or other informal settlement) you and your spouse can decide what is important and reach a settlement that each of you "can" live with. If mediation is not attempted or is unsuccessful, you go to Court and the Judge will tell you what you are "going" to live with. A Judge, try as hard as he may, can never know the intrinsic value of your stuff - how can a Judge, who does not know either of you appreciate the time and sweat you put into restoring a car or boat, or whatever and how that affects your value of the property. The same is true for your spouse, he or she may assign more value to something because it has a personal attachment. The Court does not give value to the personal attachments only the "fair market value" which is elusive in itself.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law
    Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
    Ultimately you and your spouse will be making the decisions that you both will live with, choices that will be entered in your final divorce decree. And doesn't it make sense that you makes these decisions? Mediation helps preserve a 'fair and honest relationship' with your spouse thus reducing additional tension. If the parties have children, they typically benefit from such a collaborative approach. Less Costly *Typically mediation is significantly less expensive than a litigated divorce.* If the case goes to court, the cost is typically *four times as high* (or more). Mediation is always less expensive than paying two lawyers to fight for each spouse. Less Time Consuming Rhode Island Mediated divorce cases typically take considerably less time than a litigated divorce. Greater Overall Satisfaction In Mediation the parties are assisted by a mediator to reach an agreement developed by the spouses themselves, not one imposed by a judge or the court system. Typically those spouses who mediate their own settlement are much more satisfied with their divorce. In addition, children of mediated divorces may adjust better to the divorce of their parents than children of litigated divorces. The Benefits of Mediation - The brainstorming phase of mediation allows parties to think creatively about how to resolve problems. A couple was splitting the equity in the house 38-62 (rather than 50-50) because one person had put in a lot of sweat equity. They had a disagreement whether to divide the mortgage and costs equally, or according to their agreement. One of them proposed, "The costs incurred during the marriage, let's split equally. The costs incurred because of the divorce should be split in the proportions of the divorce settlement." I could not have come up with a more fair way to divide those costs myself. Mediation can give even divorcing parties a new and better understanding of each other. A wife insisted that she take the tax deduction every year for their 2 children, even though she earned ???? of what her husband earned, and would therefore be paying less of the children's expenses. The husband argued that this arrangement was unfair to him. Initially, I agreed with him (privately). With two children, they could have easily split the tax deductions but I asked her why she didn't want to divide the deductions. She answered, "I feel terribly betrayed by this man. He promised to stay with me for the rest of his life and now he has changed his mind. He is promising to take care of his children in the future, but I fear that he will again change his mind. If he stands by his promise to provide for and care for the children, in 2 or 3 years I would be willing to give him some of the tax deductions." The husband heard this from his wife and said, "OK, that's fine with me. She can have the deductions." I said, "Do you want to put into the agreement that you will reconsider this a couple of years down the road?" He said, "No. I trust her." The wife's eyes widened in surprise at this acknowledgement by the husband.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    You appear a bit confused about terminology. A "mediated divorce" is nothing more than the achievement of a complete agreement between you and your spouse as to all (or even some) of the issues that need to be decided. A mediator is nothing more than a neutral third person who facilitates your negotiations to help you reach an agreement. The mediator does not make decisions. You may or may not need a mediator; if you and your spouse can work out an agreement on your own, or with your attorneys, you don't need a mediator. When you don't have attorneys, the principal value of a mediator will be in helping you make sure you identify and discuss all the issues - including some you may not have thought about - calmly and without a lot of unproductive argument. And, an experienced mediator may be able to suggest compromises or solutions for difficult problems that you and your spouse haven't considered. But, in the end, a "mediated divorce" is simply one in which an agreement has been reached. That agreement must still be approved by the judge. A "contested divorce" means you have not been able to reach an agreement on one or more issues and, therefore, it will require decisions by a judge. In Colorado, judges will not listen to your arguments and make any decisions unless and until you have tried to reach an agreement through the use of a mediator. So, your choice is not an "either/or" proposition. The judicial system expects you to make every effort to reach an agreement and avoid leaving decisions to the judge. And, you need to understand that "you" can't just "hire" a mediator - you and your wife must both "hire" the mediator (or have one appointed by the court), understanding that that person does not represent either one of you and must remain neutral.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    There are many benefits for mediating a divorce, not the least of which is a reduced overall cost. However, not every case is a good candidate for mediation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Mediation and Collaboration are both excellent ways to work out a settlement in a divorce. The benefits include having more control over the outcome, maintaining a better working relationship with the other party, and having a more peaceful process. On the other hand, if the two of you are not able to cooperate, or you want to make sure that you get what a court would determine is best under the law, then litigation may be a better process. However, in order to do either Mediation or Collaboration, both of you need to agree on doing it. If you are mediating, the mediator would be hired by both of you. Generally, both of you will still need attorneys to consult with and to draft the legal documents that are needed based on the agreement you reach in mediation. Depending on what you are comfortable with, the mediation can either be without your attorneys present or with your attorneys present.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend that you first retain a divorce attorney to help you and advise you as to your rights and options, which include mediation. It might be possible, in some cases, to negotiate a settlement with your spouse' attorney without formal mediation. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    If you file with the court, almost every jurisdiction will require you to see a court mediator before going to trial. So even if you do not hire a private mediator you likely will be ordered to go to mediation with a person the court respects. It is almost always better and less costly to mediate your divorce vs. going to a contested trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    Its always better to settle your family law case and be empowered to do so. Mediators are individuals trained to assist the parties in talking to one another about their property, parenting and other issues with a goal of reaching settlement. Mediators do not give legal advice to either party or advocate for either party. The best arrangement if you wish to mediate is for both parties to have their own attorney advising them on their legal options. Armed with this information, the parties can go into mediation equipped with the legal information to work out a settlement. Cases that do not work well in mediation are situations where one or both parties do not know their legal rights. Deals struck without knowing what you are bargaining for in mediation can end up falling apart.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Apple Law Firm PLLC
    Apple Law Firm PLLC | David Goldman
    Generally a mediator will be involved in a contested divorce. The problem with using a single person is that neither has a lawyer representing themselves. If it doesn't resolve, you each have to go out an hire another lawyer and start over and the cost is often much higher because then you will have paid 3 people
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    A mediator just helps the two of you to come to a compromise, hopefully, that resolves any contested issues of the divorce (such as who gets what, child support, alimony, division of accounts, etc.). If you reach a full resolution on all issues, then it is an uncontested divorce. If you cannot agree on all issues, then it is a contested divorce. Mediation is required in all dissolution matters where there are issues that are not agreed upon. I would strongly suggest discussing your matter with an experienced family law attorney in your area prior to reaching any agreement or taking any actions. If you are in the central Florida or surrounding areas, my office offers free initial telephone consultations during which we could discuss this matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Since most mediation is court annexed and occurs after filing, most mediated cases are contested cases. Most courts now require mediation. Some people may mediate before filing. Whether this is appropriate depends on the facts, and is a strategic decision you want to make after retaining a lawyer. Obviously, if you settle, you save on legal fees.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Mediation has many advantages over litigation. It is required in some counties . You control the outcome in mediation. Nothing happens unless you say yes. In court, you control nothing. It will save the most money if you hire a mediator early after you have all the information about assets and debts you need.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    All parties are required to mediate their case before proceeding to court and litigation. As a result, it is not only a good idea, in most cases it is required.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Mediation is a process through which the mediator, who is a trained neutral, will help you and your spouse (and your attorneys if you have them present) identify and attempt to resolve issues that need resolution in your divorce case. I don't know what you mean by a "mediated divorce", as the mediator is not a decision-maker. You can agree to resolve all of the issues in mediation but you still need an attorney to complete the paperwork in the appropriate and complete fashion. A mediation session is generally held in one session (maybe two sessions if the parties need to get legal advice or gather documents and then return for a second part to the mediation). A "contested divorce" is where there are unresolved issues between you and your spouse and one of you files a divorce petition; from that point the case moves on through the litigation process all the way to trial to have the judge make the decisions if the case does not settle. If you can settle your case in mediation is certainly is a lot better than going through litigation.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    You would be unwise to not Mediate (or at least use "Collaborative Lawyers") for your divorce. You retain flexibility, usually save money, create less animosity, and maintain control by not ceding decisions to a 3rd party (like a Judge or Master) about your life. The court can still enforce your Agmt./Order if you incorporate it with your Divorce Decree.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    Yes, you can hire a mediator. A mediator does not represent anyone but listens to the facts and will provide some guidance. That being said, I cannot advise you if mediation is a good option for you without further information from you.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC
    Kaczmarek Law Firm, LLC | Bridgette D. Kaczmarek
    You can get a divorce by using a mediator. If you proceed with a divorce on a pro se basis, meaning without attorneys, the Court will require you both to attend mediation before you even get into a courtroom. It is a new program offered by El Paso County for individuals electing to forego hiring an attorney. If either of you decide to hire an attorney, that process will be waived and you will have to wait for mediation until a much later date. I always encourage pro se individuals, who first meet with me on an initial consultation, to go this route first before hiring a lawyer. This way you know where each of you stand in regards to litigation. You never know, you may find you will agree on all issues and you don't even need to hire attorneys. If you agree at mediation, they will help you draw up all necessary paperwork and you can file it with the Court, wait 90 days after service, and then have your divorce finalized.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    A divorce in which the settlement agreement is mediated is usually a matter of compromise. You will not get everything that you wanted but you may get somethings worked out and have some control over your life as opposed to having a Judge make the decisions and telling you what you are going to do.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    The benefit of mediation is that it is an opportunity for the parties to maintain some control over the outcome of their case, and that they are guided to a resolution by a neutral, knowledgeable professional. In a contested divorce, disputed issues may be decided by a judge - this means that you have no control over the outcome and you have no way of knowing what a judge might do. A contested divorce may lead to additional conflict between the parties, but mediation is designed to minimize conflict and bring about an amicable resolution. Some cases are not appropriate for mediation, but if both parties are willing to attempt this option, you may be much more pleased with the outcome of your case.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 7/26/2011
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