Overview of the Divorce or Family Mediation Process
Welcome to our Mediation Practice. The purpose of this overview is to orient you to the process of mediation so that you can be thoughtful and better prepared as you enter this process. Please visit our RI Divorce/Mediation Group web page as well.
What is mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary process in which two or more parties involved in a dispute work with an impartial professional, the mediator, to generate their own solutions to resolve their dispute. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator whose decisions subject one party to win and the other party to lose, mediation is about finding a solution that works for both parties.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Mediation offers parties an alternative to taking your dispute to court and can be considered before, during and after formal court proceedings. Prior to contacting an attorney, some couples or families seek mediation to contain legal costs and have more control over the decisions to divide property, determine child support and/or alimony, develop a co-parenting plan, develop an elder care or placement plan and settle other financial matters. Some couples or families seek mediation if the dispute has been ongoing and the process of legal advocacy is not reaching a settlement facilitated by the attorneys involved. Others seek mediation to preserve a relationship that is being affected by the unresolved conflict, if the dispute is upsetting and affecting daily life, and when one party or both would like professional assistance to facilitate effective communication so that each party can hear and appreciate the other’s concerns. Mediation also remains an option after legal settlement for parties wishing to renegotiate or further clarify an agreement.
What does divorce mediation cover?
Divorce mediation covers division of joint assets and debt, and when children are involved, child custody and child support and a parenting plan.
What does family or elder care mediation cover?
Family or elder care mediation assists family members in crafting a joint agreement regarding which party assumes what specific area(s) of responsiblity and/or care for the family member in need of assistance. Typical responsibilities and types of care negotiated in the mediation include property power of attorney, medical power of attorney, bill payment, management of finances, supervision, transportation, attendance to medical appointments, personal care assistance, house keeping, medication distribution, repairs to the dwelling, visits and holidays, and other daily life needs such as grocery shopping.
Who participates in the mediation?
The participants in the mediation are the actual parties considering divorce or planning to develop an elder care plan. Usually attorneys do not attend the mediation sessions. The mediator usually asks for consent to consult with any attorney representing the parties to explain the mediation process, learn what aspects of the divorce or estate planning the attorney thinks is important to include in mediation and confirm that the client is encouraged to bring any mediated agreement to the attorney for review prior to signing it.
How long does it take and what is the cost?
Mediation of a complete divorce generally takes three to six two hour sessions, depending on the extent of the shared property and assets, the degree of disagreement and the need for a coparenting plan. The rate for mediation is based on the anticipate number of mediation sessions, emails, phone calls, consultation (with the parties, their attorneys and/or their financial advisors or other parties they choose to include in the process) and preparation of the written agreement called the Memorandum of Understanding or MOU. Mediation is considered a forensic service and so is not reimbursed by medical insurance. Payment is reviewed at the free orientation meeting during which the scope of the mediation is discussed in conjunction with the projected fee. The mediator will update the parties regarding any unanticipated fees for consultation and report preparation. Feel free to contact one of us if you have any questions.