FAQ’s

What is divorce mediation?

 

It is a series of meetings lead by a mediator (a ‘neutral’ or unbiased third party) who will help you discuss, understand and resolve the issues of the divorce

 

Why divorce mediation?

 

Mediation is confidential and lets you have a greater ability to control your divorce. The alternative is to let a judge, who does not know you, decide your future. In general, a mediated divorce is less expensive than a litigated divorce and takes less time.

 

How much will mediation cost?

 

For mediation, my fee is $275 an hour payable at the end of every session. In general, mediation will take 15 – 20 hours plus the time required to develop your marital settlement memorandum of understanding.

Regardless of whether you participate in a mediated or litigated divorce, it is recommended that certain specialists be used. It is recommended that you each have an attorney to review your memorandum of understanding and develop it into a formal Marital Settlement Agreement that will be filed with the courts.

Also, depending on the size and type of marital assets, liabilities, expenses and income you have, other specialists may be recommended. These may include a financial neutral, who will develop a financial view of your current situation and future cash flows, and a QDRO specialist who will develop documents to split pensions that will satisfy the IRS and avoid unnecessary tax liabilities.

 

Do you have evening hours?

 

Yes. We make every effort to meet you at your convenience.

 

What do we need to do for mediation?

 

You will need to commit to using mediation and to participate in the decision-making process. You will also need to provide financial documents, as well as any other necessary documents, to develop a baseline for marital assets, liabilities, income and expenses. This last requirement is necessary for a mediated divorce as well as a litigated divorce.

 

How long does it take to get divorced if we do mediation?

 

Mediation will usually take 15 – 20 hours in meetings, each meeting will last about 90 minutes, plus time to develop your marital settlement memorandum of understanding. There is additional time after that has been completed for the memorandum of understanding to be reviewed and formalized into a Marital Settlement Agreement and filed with the courts.

 

 

Once we agree on everything, is it legally binding?

 

No. We will develop a marital settlement memorandum of understanding. That document will need to be formalized into a Marital Settlement Agreement, a contract between you and your spouse, and filed with the courts. At that point your agreements are legally binding.

 

What if we can’t agree on everything?

 

At that point you would begin the process for a litigated divorce.

 

We have attorneys, can we switch to mediation?

 

Yes. Inform your attorneys that you want to try mediation and that you want to take a break from litigation.

 

What is a Financial Neutral?

A Financial Neutral is an experienced finance professional who has knowledge and training of the unique financial aspects of divorce. They can help collect, analyze and organize your financial data and help you understand your current financial situation (assets, liabilities, income and expenses) and the consequences of the decisions being considered. I am a financial professional who has had a career in finance, an MBA in finance and a certification in divorce financial analysis.

 

Why should we use a Financial Neutral?

 

Financial Neutrals are experienced financial professionals. Your attorney, if you use one, is knowledge and experienced in the law. The Financial Neutral will convert your financial data of assets, liabilities, income and expense into information that will enable you to make decisions based on the effective value of an asset or liability. In divorce, it is not so much what you get, it is how much you get to keep. Each asset has a tax consequence when used.

 

Does a Financial Neutral work with a mediator, or in other collaborative divorce scenarios?

 

Yes. It is my recommendation that regardless of the type of divorce you choose – litigated, mediated or collaborative – that you consult with a Financial Neutral.

 

How much do Financial Neutrals cost?

 

Financial Neutral’s fees can range from $250 to $400 an hour with a retainer depending on the complexity of your financial situation.

 

When should a Financial Neutral be engaged?

At the beginning of your decision to divorce or at the least as soon as possible and, certainly, hopefully, before decisions are made about how the marital finances are split.

 

Do you only work with couples or will you work with an individual?

 

We will do both.

 

Do you have evening hours?

 

Yes. We make every effort to meet you at your convenience.