Mediation may not be a term you heard in your day to day life. However, now that you're going through the process of a divorce, you may hear it and wonder how it effects you. Here we'll walk you through the basics of mediation and give you a crash course on what to expect if you decide mediation is best for you.
What Does Mediation Even Mean?
Mediation literally means intervention in a dispute in order to resolve it, and that's exactly what mediation does! Divorce mediation allows for couples to meet with a trained, neutral professional in order to communicate and negotiate the terms of their divorce and other important separating issues. Of course, mediation is not required but it does tend to save divorcing couples the time and expense of drawing out their divorce and going to court.
Speaking of Expense, How Much Does Mediation Cost?
Mediators do not have a financial stake in the outcome of the mediation (mediation fees are not contingent upon a settlement being reached). Mediator fees vary and are paid at the beginning of the session. Half-day mediations are common since all but complex cases can be settled in that amount of time. Half-day mediations typically cost $500 to $700 per side. C.Y Lee Legal Group, PLLC offers their mediation services starts at $250 for a half-day.
What To Bring To A Mediation
There are several documents to consider bringing to a divorce mediation. Consider bringing a physical, as well as a digital, copy of the following documents to your mediation.
A list of any agreements you and your spouse have already reached (like who is going to keep the house or family pet)
Bank and investment accounts paperwork (savings, checking, CDs, stocks, bonds, etc.)
retirement accounts for all current and former employers and individual accounts (IRA(s), 401k(s), pensions, deferred compensation plans, etc.)
Statements for all of your retirement accounts showing the balances in the accounts as of the date of marriage, the date of separation (date you and your spouse decided to divorce) and present
A list of real estate owned by you or your spouse with estimated values;
Mortgage statements and/or leases
A list of vehicles and personal property, with appraisal or estimated values for any particularly valuable items
Employment information: W2, paystubs, stocks, pension plans, any other benefits received
Tax returns for the past three (3) years, including any tax returns for businesses owned by either party
Health insurance information
Life insurance policies, including statements of cash values for whole life policies;
Statements of all liabilities, including statements for credit cards, mortgages, student loans, auto loans, civil suits, etc.
Can't Agree During Mediation?
If you cannot reach an agreement through mediation, you can still go to court to resolve disputes about your divorce. You do not give up your right to go through litigation if you want to try mediation first. However, it can end up costing you a lot more since you will be paying for both mediation and litigation.
Need more than just a crash course on mediation or another divorce topic? Feel free to reach out to our team of experienced attorneys that are ready to help! C. Y. Lee Legal Group, PLLC can help you when it comes to mediation. Call us today at (832) 838-1743 or Click here to set up an appointment.