About Mediation

What is Mediation?

Simply put, mediation utilizes a neutral third party to support individuals in coming to resolutions. The neutral third party supports positive, topic-driven discussion focused on transcending differences and reaching mutually agreeable solutions.

Aligned Mediation specifically support parties with minor children in the process of separation, dissolution/divorce, and ongoing (post decree) as life unfolds. We facilitate progressive discussions, working towards agreements and resolutions both parties can live into as the family moves forward.

The Big Three in Family Mediation:

  1. Parenting Time & Decision Making
  2. Division of Financial Assets and Debts
  3. Child Support & Maintenance or Spousal Support

Every situation is unique and each party is encouraged to bring forward what is important to them.  It is not uncommon for even the most experienced communicators and parties on the best of terms to struggle through these important life conversations and decisions. We invite you to consider the use of a mediator.

What is the difference between Mediation and Litigation?

Family Mediation involves two parties sitting down to make agreements and find solutions regarding their shared interests around their separation. The mediator facilitates as a neutral third party, supporting the parties in unpacking and untangling their current life together, working towards agreements regarding how life may look as everyone moves forward.  

Litigation naturally places parties on opposing sides, pitting them against one another.

“We know litigation is very hard on families, very hard on children, a waste of resources, a waste of assets, and it’s stressful. So we always say it’s better if people can reach their own agreements” – Judge Susan Tolbert

Details on average mediation costs:

The mediated separation and divorce/dissolution process typically unfolds over multiple mediation sessions. Mediation sessions are typically 2 hours in length and most parties will take 3 to 5 sessions to reach their necessary agreements, making the average cost of mediation approximately $1,500 USD.  Mediation fees can be split evenly among the parties, may have an alternate percentage split, or may be entirely paid by one party.

Respecting that there are situations where the parties are unable to reach their own agreements, we encourage considering the strain litigation can put on families emotionally and financially, and that ultimately both parties may give up the final decision to a third party judge. As illustrated in the below triangle, the individual in the equation with the least amount of knowledge makes the decisions for the parties and their family.

Are attorneys involved in the Mediation process?

Aligned Mediation is attorney friendly. Attorneys are commonly utilized by either or both parties somewhere within the mediated dissolution and divorce process.  

Attorney fees may be reduced and limited by utilizing attorneys who offer “Limited Scope Representation”, also referred to as “unbundled” or “limited” services. Therefore, these attorneys are willing to offer support with designated legal services rather than their full divorce package. Limited Scope Representation may allow you to obtain the assistance you need from an attorney, while still keeping your legal expenses affordable. Attorneys are typically utilized by parties to provide family law advice, financial questions/concerns, review and advise on the final mediated agreement, and then file the dissolution or divorce with the courts.

Attorneys may sometimes attend portions of the mediation to advise their clients, that said, it must be communicated prior to the mediation so the other party has ample opportunity for their attorney to also attend. The most common mediation session for attorneys to attend is the financial session, though it is not required that they do nor is their involvement limited to this session. Naturally, attorneys are typically more involved in mediated divorces and less involved in a mediated dissolution.

Parties also always have the legal right to utilize mediation to reach agreements and file their own dissolution without the use of attorneys anywhere in the process, this is called Pro Se (Latin meaning for one’s self).

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