Divorce mediation does work under a wide variety of circumstances, says the research and reviews on line. I strongly agree. It is a civilized process designed to reduce stress, zero in on the required topic areas, build new trust and a foundation going forward with an agreement that works. The Mediation process inserts a third person (neutral) to lead a discussion, generate options, explain pros and cons and assist the divorcing couple enabling smart decision making based on common goals of the parties and the laws of the jurisdiction.
A large number of people now find and use an attorney mediator who wants to take care of couples by providing a process which allows the parties to take part, contribute and collaborate with the mediators, to help them identify the issues they will need to confront, generate thoughtful relevant options and come to smart family and financial decisions.
The mediators are able to recommend appropriate resources as necessary to the parties if micro experts on specific topics are needed to help the mediator and the couple end up with an agreement that is complete, reflects the intentions of the parties and will likely be approved by the judge who has the power to approve or reject an agreement.
As most consumers favor a flat fee for services rendered, the questions that follow could help the consumer evaluate whether a flat fee can give both notice and control of the fee for budgeting purposes and allow you to still receive a high level of service at a fair cost.
Is the mediator a lawyer or non-lawyer? The answer may dictate what type of documents you receive - court ready or not (not court ready means if mediating with a non-lawyer, you will need to take the work product to a lawyer who will then put it into proper form required by the court.
How experienced is the mediator in both the mediation process and the underlying laws of divorce?
Do you need all three tracks of mediation addressed: children issues; assets and liabilities and cash flow (support)?
What experience does the mediator have in addressing the details of each of the three tracks?
Is it a sole mediator or co-mediation team?
If two, are you paying extra for the second mediator?
Is a flat fee or similar type of fee offered? How is it set up?
Does the flat fee include work performed by the mediators in and out of session, document preparation, review of final mediation agreement and other court required documents and instructions to have the agreement approved in court? What other costs might you have from other professionals? Filing fees, etc.
Compare to retainer/hourly fee? What does the mediator charge for things such as emails, telephone calls, scheduling, research, document preparation, review of documents in and out of session? What other costs might you have for filing, professional costs, appraisals, retirement division preparation.
Generally speaking, it is always better to have a fee or a fee structure with small parameters when entering into a professional relationship. Look for a combination of experience, skills and as close to a flat fee and of course:
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