What is mediation?
Mediation is a confidential process in which a neutral professional is hired to assist parties in reaching a mutually acceptable, voluntary resolution to disputes.
Do we have to file a divorce case before utilizing mediation services?
No, you can begin negotiating your divorce settlement before any divorce action is filed.
What does a Divorce Mediator do?
Divorce mediators are neutral third parties who do not provide legal advice to a divorcing couple, but instead takes on the role to navigate the couple’s options to facilitate a divorce agreement without litigation.
What happens during divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation looks different for each couple because of their unique circumstances. Commonly, the parties are placed in separate rooms with their attorney if they are utilizing the services of an attorney. The mediator moves room to room facilitating discussions privately to move the parties toward an amicable divorce settlement. If the parties are open to the alternative, everyone caucuses in one room for open discussion of the topics at hand.
What documents should I bring to a divorce mediation?
Be prepared to provide an asset and debt list, an Affidavit of Financial Means, copies of recent paystubs, copies of last year or two of tax returns, copies of recent financial statements for each bank account, copies of recent debt statements for each debt account, copies of statements for all retirement accounts, lists of pre-marital and non-marital personal property and your real property records. It is helpful to provide appraisals and valuations you may have for any real and personal property if those figures are in dispute in any way.
How long does mediation take?
It depends on the complexity of the issues between the parties. Standard divorce case mediations could be as short as 4 hours. Complex divorce case mediations may require 8 hours or more. If the issues at hand require multiple professionals to assist in mediation, such as therapists, accountants, etc., mediation sessions could become multi-day, but this occurs in rare instances.
What if we cannot reach a full settlement in mediation?
The parties can reach a partial agreement at mediation and resolve the remaining issues later with or without a trial. The mediator will prepare the necessary paperwork for the partial terms of agreement and will notify the judge of the partial agreement reached by the parties. A partial agreement will still save the parties money leaving less issues to litigate and reduce the unknown factors of a divorce trial.
What is the cost of mediation?
The cost of mediation varies case by case. Michelle Strause offers flat fee options and her hourly rates are standard for the Hot Springs area and fair for her level of expertise.
Is there a way to reduce the cost of visitation and custody mediation?
Visit www.araccess.org to see if you are eligible to utilize the AR Access and Visitation Mediation Program to reduce your cost of mediation.
Can I avoid mediation?
Most Arkansas judges require a divorce mediation before allowing a hearing to be scheduled in divorce cases. Each judge handles their divorce dockets differently so be sure to ask your attorney if you have any chance to avoid mediation in your particular case.
Should I hire an attorney to attend mediation with me?
Going through divorce is intimidating and you should want to be as prepared as you can. It is essential you have someone looking out for your legal interest in a divorce to achieve a fair settlement. Having an experienced divorce attorney is beneficial, but it is not required.