What’s It Like At A Mediation Session?
What’s it like in mediation? Relaxed, informally formal. Everyone gets a chance to speak and to feel heard. Usually, the day’s discussion revolves around the homework I have assigned. For example, if the issue is parenting time, we might want to look at how your children spend their time. Where they attend school, how they get to school, the hours school is in session. In today’s Covid world, a valid question might be does your home have sufficient band width such that you and the three kids can all be on line at the same time? If not, what do we need to do to resolve that issue? If the issue relates to equitable distribution, I will ask the parties to provide documentation of monthly expenses, or investments, or pension plans so that all of the parties understand what’s to be divided.
Often in a relationship, one of the parties feels dominated, “unheard”, or disrespected by the other party. Mediation is empowering. Here’s why. First, I give each party a voice. Only one person speaks at a time and each party gets to say what he thinks. On the rare occasion when one party insists on overwhelming the other, I separate them. . . either in a separate room in my office or in the waiting room if it is a Zoom meeting. I speak to each without the other and I ask permission as to what I can say to the other side. Mediation is about solving problems. For example, during mediation, one of my favorite questions is “Why?” If you tell us “why” then we can come up with rational argument and we don’t get mired down in “Because.”
Another reason mediation empowers the participants is the parties decide how they want to solve the problem. They are not stuck with what the court would do, or some cookie-cutter solution, but are free to their best interest. For example, I once had a couple who both wanted residential custody, but neither could make a reasonable plan without changing employment. So, they decided that share joint legal custody. they would pay support to Wife’s mother to keep the children during the week, and they would alternate weekends with the children.
Usually, a mediation session lasts about 60 to 120 minutes. The cost of mediation in comparison to litigation is good value for the dollar. Most lawyers charge between $325 and $500 per hour. Once begun, litigation takes on a life of its own and you have no idea when or how it will end. You are required to adhere to court mandated rules and procedures; getting into court for a hearing could take as long as six weeks depending on the county where you case is venued. With a mediator, you can likely schedule an appointment within a couple of weeks. You pay your attorney each time she picks up the file to speak with someone on your behalf. Our firm charges each party a flat fee, and in the typical case, we are done with a parenting plan in four to six weeks. We are from first consultation to divorced in four to six months.
At the end of the day, when you ask yourself, “Why mediate?” Here are three good reasons:
- Far less expensive than litigation
- You control the time, not the judge
- Greater satisfaction with the outcome because you decided; you found creative solutions to your problems, without resorting to the court’s one size fits all solutions.
Call Now For An Evaluation Of Your Case