“According to Nolo Press, the average cost of going to trial on any issue averaged $19,600 each, including $15,800 for attorney's fees.”


-Armand & Robbin D'Alo

 

DIVORCE MEDIATION BRINGS A PEACEFUL OPTION DURING A STRESSFUL TIME IN LIFE

It’s Hard To Be Calm And Have A Plan For Something You Never Planned On Happening

 

1. GATHERING INFORMATION.

The process explained in ONE LAST LOOK sets the groundwork for your divorce mediation:

  • Our neutrality is established as third-party mediators.
  • Critical information—assets, income and expenses—is gathered.
  • A financial profile is created that serves as a snapshot of your financial situation.

This financial background builds an awareness of what’s on the table, the type of assets the couple holds, and what those assets mean to each person.

 

2. MEDIATION BEGINS.

The mediation process involves a series of meetings that help us determine objectives and develop a mediation strategy. These meetings usually run between 90 minutes and two hours long. Each situation is different and the number of steps can vary. Mediation is not a “cookie-cutter” process.

STEP 1. Our goal at this meeting is to get to know the couple and build an understanding of their interests. We explain how the mediation process works and what you can expect.

We then prepare and present a general outline of settlement issues for both to consider.

STEP 2. Next, we conduct separate meetings with each spouse. Our goal here is to gain a perspective of the situation from each individual’s point of view.

It’s also a time for us to learn what issues are important to each individual and what outcome they are seeking.

STEP 3. The next meeting defines levels of agreement. The goal is to assess where you and your spouse agree, and where you need some work to reach agreement.

Items to be mediated are ranked, and the process of reaching agreement begins in order of importance. Sometimes, to ease a couple into the process, easier issues are handled before more impactful issues are discussed.

This meeting is generally very productive, and may run longer depending on the couple, the level of cooperation and how the process is flowing.

 

3. AGREEMENT IS REACHED.

Finally, we help couples build a financial structure that meets their objectives. If children are involved, we help couples prepare a parenting schedule or parenting plan. These items are written into an agreement that both spouses sign.

By the end of this stage, agreement should be reached on all major issues: support, division of finances as well as debt, plus custody and visitation. We remind couples that agreements generally are not “liked” by everyone, but they are agreements that they can live with.

 

4. ATTORNEY INVOLVEMENT.

We give the couple a list of attorneys – professionals we know who are mediation-friendly. We may also recommend, if appropriate, converting the case to a collaborative mediation case. In either situation, each person hires their own separate counsel. These are limited scope representation for the purpose of providing legal advice on their individual situation.

In collaborative divorce, you and your spouse each retain lawyers who are trained to work cooperatively and agree to settle your case. Each of you has a lawyer, but the work is done in cooperation.

The agreement is presented to each counsel for review and comment. Sometimes this brings up issues for further mediation, but usually counsel advises the client of their situation, what the agreement means and how it can be implemented.

Once agreement is reached, either a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) or a Marital Settlement Agreement (MSA) is drafted. It’s then reviewed by each spouse and their attorney. Once completed, it’s signed and filed with the courts.