Divorce mediation is a way for couples to resolve their differences outside of court. It allows for more flexibility and control over how the couple will split their assets, and if they have children, custody and parenting issues. It can also help them create a co-parenting plan for after their divorce, which is often necessary to prevent future conflicts. Mediation can be a helpful alternative to litigation and may even save costs in the long run.
When you’re looking for mediation services near me, you can start by asking for referrals from people you trust. For example, you might ask your marriage counselor or therapist for suggestions of mediators who have experience with divorce cases. Family and friends who have experienced their own separations can also offer recommendations. You might also look online for a list of divorce mediators by state, city or county.
You’ll want to choose a mediator who has a background in family law and has completed mediation courses that are specific to divorce. You’ll also want to make sure that the mediator you choose has extensive experience with each of the different issues that come up in a divorce, including property division, child support, spousal support and custody issues.
Before you hire a mediator, you should find out about their fees. The cost of a mediator can vary widely, and you’ll need to consider how many sessions you anticipate needing as well as the complexity of your case. Some mediators will charge an initial retainer followed by hourly rates for subsequent sessions. Others will charge a flat fee for drafting the final settlement agreement.
Some mediators offer online and phone-based sessions, which can be a good option for couples who have busy schedules or cannot meet in person. You should also ask the mediator about their scheduling and availability.
If you are going to mediation as part of a divorce or separation, you normally must attend an introductory meeting called the mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). This is where your mediator will explain what mediation is and how it might be helpful in your case. You might be able to waive the MIAM requirement in certain circumstances, such as if you are seeking protection from domestic abuse or you’re working with social services.
During your first mediation session, you’ll typically discuss the general topics that will be covered in your divorce, such as property division, child and spousal support. You might also talk about parenting plans, child custody and visitation and other family issues. Your mediator might send you a form to fill out before your first mediation appointment, which will usually require you to list your assets and liabilities. If you’re not honest in these forms, your ex might later try to claim that you concealed assets or undervalued them.
You should ask your mediator what their fee schedule is and how they accept payment. Some mediators will only accept checks or money orders; others accept credit cards. You should also find out if your mediator has any additional expenses you’ll need to pay, such as travel or court filing fees.