Q: Is the mediator a lawyer who can tell us our legal position on matters in our case?
A: The mediator is trained to resolve disputes and equally serve you both. The mediator is not a lawyer, nor can the mediator apply the law to your individual situations. By nature giving legal advice to one side breaks the neutrality of the mediation as it cannot be guaranteed that equally powerfull legal advice can be given to the other party to keep it even.
Q: How much will mediation cost us?
A: The Hourly Fee is $95 per hour per person. The mediator charges no fee during your initial half hour consultation. In an effort to make Mediation affordable to everyone who needs it, Family Synergy Mediation’s fee is split between the parties. The mediator works for both of you. This makes Mediation more affordable than you might think. Family Synergy Mediation does not charge a retainer so you only pay for the time you schedule with the mediator. If you request Shuttle Mediation (two separate rooms) there will be an additional fee of around $40/hour for the second room. There is also a documentation fee to complete all the required court forms and that is a flat rate so you are not vulnerable to expensive revisions.
The Mediator has devised a process to get clients through this process with the cheapest and most stress free Court Process available and can review that with you during the Initial Consultation. All in all clients say our fee is literally a fraction of other mediators and attorneys they have interviewed.
Q: If I agree in mediation that I would be willing to give up the house and we later go to court can my statement be used against me and cost me the house?
A: The short answer is no. During Mediation many possible alternatives will be discussed and none are binding until you both agree and have the documents drafted in a legally binding document and filed with the court.
Q: Everything discussed in mediation is completely confidential then?
A: Everything is confidential in that the mediator cannot share the substance of Mediation with anyone else. Of course if anyone suggests they are going to hurt themselves, others or break the law the mediator is required by law to alert the authorities.
Q: If we start mediation and then wish to quit have I lost any of my legal rights?
A: No. Either party can terminate Mediation at any time. It is completely voluntary. When Mediation is terminated neither party has surrendered any legal rights by starting Mediation. Either party is free to drop the dispute, or escalate to litigation at any time without compromising any of their rights.
Q: I believe mediation can help, but my spouse still wishes to go to court. Can mediation still help me somehow?
A: Mediation is strictly voluntary and both sides have to participate of their own free will. Because we are working together to find win/win solutions the process will not work if either side doesn’t engage fully in the process. Sometimes, however, individuals have a false perception that their best interests are served by litigating. In some cases this is true. For example, if the other disputant is completely unreasonable and cannot be negotiated with, the court is in a better position to examine the case and impose a solution whether the parties agree with it or not. Usually, it is in both parties best interest to find a win/win agreement as they can spend the time coming to a creative agreement that the courts don’t have the time to accommodate.
Q: I just have a few questions. Can I call the mediator anonymously and ask?
A: Of course. Call (303) 725-1007 and speak with the mediator to address any of your questions at no charge.
Q: Do we still need lawyers if use mediation?
A: You are both encouraged to seek legal counsel to make sure your rights are legally protected. Mediation is a process of reaching agreement on the issues. Legal counsel is useful to make sure that language of agreement is memorialized properly in the legally binding documents. At the conclusion of Mediation all agreements will be documented in a Memorandum of Understanding that each can take to their respective attorneys for review.
Q: How can I be sure my spouse will provide complete and accurate information during mediation such as on our marital assets?
A: Mediation relies on full disclosure from both sides. It is not a matter of IF a party will divulge information but HOW. It can be done voluntarily during Mediation or by the order of the court. Not sharing information is NOT an option either in Mediation or in court. The party who attempts to hide assets or other information during Mediation will be treated the same by the courts as anyone else who falsifies information provided to the court. Not good.
Q: I have not usually handled the money. Will I be at a disadvantage during the mediation when we negotiate the division of our marital assets?
A: No. The mediator will work to ensure that BOTH sides have the complete and same information to make fair decisions. For example, if one spouse has an expensive collection that they claim on the net worth worksheets as having a low value the mediator may order a professional and independent appraisal be completed of the collection to determine their fair value. This way both will know the fair value of the collection when negotiating the division of assets.
Q: How successful is mediation?
A: Generally Mediation results in satisfactory agreement 75-90% of the time. Of course the circumstances of the conflict vary the results. For example court-referred cases can have a different success rate than cases initiated by the spouses themselves. To make matters more confusing a final written agreement does not always have to result for disputants to consider Mediation successful. Some work through the framing of the issues and take their disagreement back into their hands to work it out, grateful for Mediation for helping frame the underlying issues for them to solve.
Q: Is the agreement reached in mediation more durable than agreements imposed by the courts?
A: Typically, yes. Mediated settlements are shown to last longer than court ordered settlements and require fewer modifications in court. Mediated agreements are three times less likely to be taken back to court. Because Mediated agreements represent what is acceptable to both sides the agreement tends to meet the needs of the parties and no revision is needed in court. Also Mediated agreements are usually morecomprehensive and creative and are tailored to the needs of the disputants. This is reflected in a surveyed satisfaction rate that is higher by 30% over court ordered settlements. Also, litigants pay on average 133% more than their Mediation counterparts.
Q: My spouse and I aren’t sure if we are ready to get divorced, can mediation help us determine how we should proceed with our marriage?
A: Mediation is a process to reach agreement and move forward after you have decided to end your marriage. Emotional issues and issues about the past are best left to emotional specialists like Therapists and Psychologists. They are better equipped to assist you both in saving your marriage or deciding if you should move ahead with a divorce. The mediator will only focus on the substance of the divorce and how to reach agreement so both sides can move forward.