Robert A. Gleaner, P.C

mediation

Even for those who really want to get a divorce, it is not a happy situation. When lawyers and litigation expenses are added, the experience can often become miserable. That is why Mediation came into vogue. And avoidance of legal fees is only one aspect of the desirability of Mediation.

As you probably know, lawyers charge based on time spent, usually charging a minimum for each step taken, either a five minute or one-tenth of an hour (.1 = 6 minutes) minimum. So now, think about an attempted resolution of a minor issue when both sides have lawyers and are not speaking with each other; for example, who gets the car.

Add up all of those tenths of an hour - the resolution of that issue took .7 hours, that is 42 minutes. At a typical $250 per hour rate, that cost the couple $175.

Now look at the same issue in the context of Mediation-

Husband and Wife are sitting in an office with the Mediator, who may be charging $300 per hour. Mediator says to the couple, who's going to take the car. Wife says she doesn't want it. Husband says he'll take it. Elapsed time - ten seconds. If it were really being billed at $300 per hour, the charge would be about 8¢. Realistically, it would be noted by the Mediator in his/her notes and that issue would be a line in the ultimate Agreement; in reality, the charge for that "agreement" would have been part of the overall conference discussing many other issues.

So what can you expect out of Mediation? A good mediator can help the parties come to an amicable agreement with very little attorney participation. In mediation, the mediator will assist the parties in getting all pertinent information together and help them evaluate that information. This would include, but not be limited to evaluation of assets, determination of custody issues and every other issue that needs to be determined. Once the parties are in general agreement, the mediator would draft either a Memorandum of Understanding or a Property Settlement/Separation Agreement. Then each party can take that agreement or memorandum to their own lawyers for review and discussion. This is optional. There is no requirement that an attorney review the Agreement; it depends on the comfort level and desires of the individual parties.

Once approved, the Agreement can be signed and then one of the parties would be required to retain an attorney in order to obtain the divorce for the parties. The reason that an attorney would need to be involved at the end is that the Mediator cannot represent either of the parties to get the final divorce in Court. However, the role of the attorney at that point is very limited and thus there is a substantial savings in legal fees for both sides. I am proud of the fact that I have been able to help some couples overcome substantial animosity to come to an agreement. Many other couples have come to me and have been down-right friendly. In either case, the couples have spent far less than they would have spent if they had let the lawyers (or a Judge) resolve their issues. You, your spouse, your children and your bank account owe it to yourselves to give Mediation a try!

Feel free to call me for a free one hour consultation at no cost. However, before you call me, speak with your spouse. Find out whether he/she would like to try a Mediator. And have him/her look at my web page. I do not want to talk about details with you on the phone, when just you and I are speaking. The reason for this is that I need to remain neutral. Neither party should believe that the Mediator has taken the side of the person who makes the initial contact. For that reason, I limit my first phone call, the initial contact, to some minor details (such as where you live, how long you have been married, number of children, etc.) and then the scheduling of a meeting for you, your spouse and me.

I look forward to hearing from you.