The Initial Consultation with the Mediator usually takes one hour to one and half hours.
The Mediator will walk the Parties through each topic, very often answering questions the Parties did not even know to ask. There is a LOT of Free informationthe Mediator can share and you are encouraged to have the Mediator cover these important topics with you. Typically the Mediator will educate you on the basics of how how mediation works, the time and cost of mediation and the entire divorce process. Typical topics include:
The main objective of the Consultation is to educate you on how the court process works and how the mediation will be structured so you can see how it fits together. Clients say it’s comforting to understand how the process works, and how the process will ensure everything will be fair. Clients seem to be a little more patient and agreeable to creative solutions when they are not fearful and anxious. That is our goal together..To take the Fear and Expense out of Divorce!
If the Petition has not been filed with the Court yet…Typically the whole process takes about 4 months. One Month to complete the Mediation and then 91 days for the Court Process. It is worth mentioning that approximately two months after starting Mediation and only one month into the Court process the Parties can usually begin separating their debts and asset, including selling and buying new homes, etc.
IF the Petition has already been filed then we have to work in the constraints of the Court deadlines and sometimes that means we can be done in less than 90 days, if the Parties are very responsive and can work together well. Otherwise if either of the Parties is uncomfortable with state of their negotiations, rescheduling matters in the Court can push court dates three to six months. While possible rescheduling dates with the Court may be frustrating, it is better than giving in to the pressure of making an undesirable agreement due to pressure.
In short, No. I can reassure you that the final support numbers will be fair and not to worry unnecessarily. Sound disappointing? There are two big reasons why this is the correct answer.
First, The Child Support and Spousal Maintenance formulas are guidelines that are meant to be considered in the context of the overall situation of the Parties. Without considering the full picture the support calculations could produce an unfair number. You don’t want to believe you know what the number is only to find out later that the number should be changed.
Second, It is our mission together in Mediation to work together, consdier both parties situations and arrive a fair amount of support that both parties can agree to . During that process I will make the support calculations available to you both so they are strongly considered.
How do you know that the support numbers we come up will be fair? Since you will both participate together in the full financial disclosures and budgeting you both will see what it will take for BOTH of you to move forward. Lastly since Mediation is voluntary you don’t have to voluntarily sign anything you do not believe is fair.
If a Lawyer has already shown you nuymbers all I can say is to not get attached either way to them. Stay open minded since the Lawyer may not have had the chance to work through the factors in both Parties situations that you are supposed to consider before finalizing any support numbers.
If you wish you should bring your preferred method of taking notes and your favorite beverage. We have water, soda machines and usually coffee/tea available if you like. People sometimes ask if they should bring their court documents, financial papers, etc and I usually say that until we covered under an agreement of confidentiality that you shouldn’t share that information just yet.