What is Family Law Mediation? •A non-binding, voluntary process of mutual problem-solving whereby parties attempt to reach a structured agreement on all the family law issues raised by their decision to separate, divorce, or modify existing court-ordered provisions •A process where cooperative bargaining and negotiations are monitored and managed by one or moreskilled, neutral professional(s).The mediator uses rules and procedures and intervenes in a way that the factors influencing cooperation, other than competition, are present. •A process that manages discussions in a way that requires full discussion of the issues, that examines the consequences of various choices, and that sets a time limit on the sessions so as to require either closure or the reaching of impasse within a reasonable time period
When is Family Law Mediation Used? •Divorce •Paternity •Establishing or Modifying Child Custody or Parenting Access or Visitation •Establishing or Modifying Child Support •Establishing or Modifying Spousal Maintenance or Alimony •Dividing Property and Debts •Post-Decree Conflict •Parent/Child Disputes •Cohabitation Agreements •Prenuptial Agreements •Antenuptial Agreements
Why Use Family Law Mediation? •Avoids litigation •The parties rather than the judicial system take control of family law problems and their outcome •Turns a dispute from a win-lose contest to a mutual problem-solving process •Provides an opportunity to reach fair result through the parties' own efforts based on their own standards of fairness •Spares the parties the embarrassment of airing their private matters in the public arena •Spares the parties the agony of protracted, costly litigation •Spares children the agony of parents who fight through litigation •Promotes communication between parties •Centers discussion on the present and how to best plan for the future •Rather than emphasize differences, as done in litigation, the family law mediation process instead emphasizes commonalities, connectedness, and the mutuality of people in conflict. Family law mediation encourages the parties to take responsibility for finding solutions rather than shifting responsibility through blame and fault finding. •Prohibits either party from victimizing the other.Negotiations are conducted in an open atmosphere with full disclosure, full examination of all issues and options, and full examination of the consequencesof each decision.
How Do You Start the Family Law Mediation Process? •An initial half hour individual telephone or an in-person (individual or joint) consultation is available for parties in which questions regarding mediation are answered and each party’s commitment to a fair and honest process is assessed.There is no charge for this consultation.The substance of the dispute is not covered during this consultation. •Once a decision is made to enter into mediation, each party is asked to complete a questionnaire which produces the information necessary for discussion and completion of a negotiated agreement •Two-hour mediation sessions are set up with the mediator and the parties to work together toward agreement •Each party is encouraged to contact legal counsel should any legal questions arise during the family law mediation process and to independently review each of the decisions made during the family law mediation process to advise them of their rights •One party (through counsel) drafts the mediated decisions found in a Memorandum of Understanding into proper legal form for the other party’s consideration and subsequent presentment to the Court
How Much Does Family Law Mediation Cost? •Hockings Law Office, LLC charges by the hour.Hourly family law mediator fees, costs, and administration charges are discussed during the initial consultation •Unless otherwise agreed between the parties, family law mediation fees are shared by both parties