What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce Mediation is an alternative to the litigation and/or negotiation part of divorce. Typically in a divorce, attorneys will argue motions and trials on behalf of the divorcing parties. They will usually seek negotiations with the other side to resolve issues or prepare a settlement agreements. In divorce mediation, the divorcing parties, with help of a mediator will resolve all issues about the divorce and the mediator will then prepare a memorandum of understanding. This memorandum may be brought to the attorneys for preparation of a divorce settlement agreement. Mediation may also be used for post divorce matters.


What are the advantages of divorce mediation?

There are two main advantages. First, most parties feel greater satisfaction in having resolved there own disputes and knowing that a third person, a judge, will not be making major decisions for them. The other advantage is financial; you will be paying one mediator instead of two attorneys. This usually saves money for both.


What is the basic process of mediation?

Usually both parties meet with the mediator in an orientation session. This teaches the parties about the process and what is expected from them. There is also basic information gathering and initial identification of issues between the parties. Sessions are then held where the two parties negotiate all the issues regarding the divorce. The mediator is there to facilitate the negotiations and keep it on track. After all issues have been resolved, the mediator prepares a memorandum of understanding for the parties. They bring the memorandum to their attorneys for preparation of the divorce settlement/judgment and final hearing for divorce.


Is mediation for everyone?

While most people going for a divorce can mediate, it is not suited for everyone. Whenever there is a significant power difference between the parties, such as domestic violence or drug abuse, it is better to have an attorney advocate for you. A good mediator can balance out the minor to moderate differences in negotiation skills and power balances between the parties.


How much does mediation cost?

Most mediators charge on an hourly rate, usually between $90.00 and $300.00 per hour. Some require a retainer and may have a minimum or fixed price for preparing memorandums. Both parties are responsible for the costs, but you can resolves payment between yourselves.

What should I look for in a Divorce Mediator?

Try to find someone with experience. Most states do not license mediators; however, some may go through a certification process. I recommend that the mediator be an attorney or counseling professional. Robert Lapointe is certified by the Rhode Island Family Court as a Divorce Mediator and a member of the R.I. Council of Family Mediators.