How long does it take?

Most mediation cases will take between one and three sessions. We meet together in my office or using the Zoom platform for 2-hour sessions. We schedule sessions 1-2 weeks apart so that you have time to gather the information you need between appointments. If you are both prepared, the mediation process moves quickly. Most mediated divorces are rapidly finalized in 4-6 months, this timeframe includes the 90-day cooling-off period required in Pennsylvania. When we meet for our consultation, your mediator will give you a written estimate of how long your case may take based on the information you provide.

What are the topics?

During the mediation session, we discuss all the topics that are important to you both. After the initial consultation, your mediator provides a list of important legal items and worksheets you may need to prepare for your divorce or separation. Sharing your financial information and documents with each other ahead of time will be helpful so that you can make informed decisions for your family together. Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state, meaning that during mediation, your property and debts will be distributed in a manner that is fair to you both.

How does mediation differ from court?

In the mediation process, you never go to court. We draft a legally enforceable, confidential settlement agreement for your separation, divorce, or custody arrangements. This differs from the litigation path, if you go to court it is not private, may take several years, and is significantly more expensive. Your mediator accomplishes this by carefully guiding you through the process step by step, helping couples to focus on important financial needs and the best interests of the children. In court, a judge or attorney decides your family’s future, and your children are often used as pawns.

Does mediation require a retainer?

NO! Unlike most family law attorneys who demand upfront retainers of $5,000 to $10,000 or more for divorce or custody matters, I do not require a retainer for mediation. You simply pay as you go for each session you request. This helps folks budget so that your family is not financially strained during the process. Your mediator accepts checks, cash, or credit cards for your convenience. Costs are always much lower for a mediated divorce, and most folks are quite surprised how inexpensive a mediated divorce can be. Your mediator will always give you the fees upfront, with no surprises.

We are not really getting along, can we still mediate?

YES! Most mediating couples are amicable, but many couples are nervous about mediating difficult conversations. Even if you are struggling to communicate well, it is possible to work together peacefully with the help of a qualified mediator. Although initially, emotions can run high, most individuals quickly calm down and participate effectively to solve problems. Mediators are trained to guide you step by step using a mediation process that avoids attacks on each other and helps you work together through the process.

Do I need my own attorney or another professional?

If needed, you may obtain advice from your own professionals such as therapists, accountants, financial planners, lawyers, etc. during the mediation process. In a divorce or custody matter, it is not always wise to get advice from your family and friends, even if it is well-intentioned. Therapists or counselors can help you with the emotional issues that may come up during the divorce process. If you find that you need extra support, your mediator will provide a list of recommended professionals that can help!

What situations are great for mediation?

Mediation will resolve most situations, even in complicated and high net worth cases. You will decide the exact same issues during the mediation process as if you went to court. The difference is that you make decisions for yourself and your family instead of a judge or lawyer. It is quite empowering to determine your own future!

What situations are not good for mediation?

Not all cases are good for mediation, specifically cases involving physical or other abuse, or if an individual is impaired by addiction or a mental health disability that prevents that person from making decisions for themselves. Your mediator will screen for these issues during the consultation to determine whether your case is a good case for mediation. If there are concerns, your mediator will refer you to a competent professional.

More Questions?

For more information, click here for an online consultation. If you have questions, schedule a free chat with Dawn: