What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process in which the parties select a neutral third person, the mediator, to assist them in reaching agreement about a family law dispute. Unlike arbitration or litigation, the mediation process does not result in a decision that is imposed on the parties. Rather, the mediator's job is to help the parties reach agreements about the matters in dispute. Carol is a Registered Family Law Mediator and has sixteen (16) years of family law mediation experience.
Can We Hire a Mediator if We Don't Have Attorneys?
Absolutely. The mediator remains a neutral third party who helps you and your spouse arrive at an agreement concerning all the matters related to your divorce. Those matters include decisions related to custody, parenting time, child support, and the division of debts and assets. The mediator cannot give you legal "advice" during the mediation process but she can educate you about what the law IS. Further, she can and will guide you to a fair and equitable agreement that takes into consideration all the unique factors about YOUR family.
Will Mediation Be Less Expensive If We Don't Have Attorneys?
Yes. Carol charges $150.00 per hour as a mediator. If you each had an attorney who attended the mediation and charged $200 per hour, you would be paying $3,300.00 for a six-hour mediation. Without attorneys, your six-hour mediation would cost $900.00. The time involved depends on the number of issues to be decided and the distance between what each party believes is a right outcome. Some mediations are completed in one day in just a few hours. Others may require a series of shorter meetings held over a few days or weeks. Without a doubt, your divorce will be less expensive if neither party retains an attorney. Without a doubt, however, there are circumstances in which both parties require the advocacy skills of an attorney.
What is the Downside of Not Having An Attorney?
An attorney is an advocate for one party or the other. The attorney subpoenas evidentiary documents to prove the values of various debts and assets or to prove various allegations of the parties. The mediator is a neutral third party whose only goal is to help you reach agreements. The parties cooperate in producing documents requested by the mediator and it requires a level of trust that may not be present. While the mediator has a duty to make sure the agreement is fair and equitable and not contrary to the law, the mediator will NOT give you legal advice and will NOT advocate for either party.
Will My Attorney Choose to Mediate?
Attorneys who are successful at negotiation or collaboration will not need to retain a mediator to settle their case. However, when an attorney is uncertain that going to court will result in a good outcome for the client, the attorney may choose to mediate. After sixteen years of mediation experience, attorneys from all over the State of Indiana have used Carol's skills as a mediator and continue to do so. Her success rate is 99%.
Will My Attorney Arrange the Mediation?
Yes. If you are represented by an attorney, the mediation must be scheduled by the two attorneys on the case. Attorneys who are familiar with mediators in their jurisdiction will frequently agree that a particular mediator would best serve their needs. If they are unable to agree, however, the Court will offer the names of three registered mediators. After each attorney strikes one name, the remaining mediator is appointed to the case and the attorneys arrange the mediation.
Will Mediation Be Less Expensive Than Going To Court?
While a day of mediation with two attorneys present will be quite expensive, you will spend a lot less money than you would if those attorneys were preparing for court! Further, you will have far more control over the outcome! There are no rules of evidence in the mediation process, and there is no third party who is going to determine your future.
- Mediation Suite with conference and caucus rooms
- Lunch provided
- Mediator will travel to your location
- Mediator has extensive knowledge of Indiana case law as it relates to family law matters
- Mediator will make every effort to work around your schedule