Frequently Asked Questions
Denver Divorce Mediation
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION?
Less Costly – Most cases resolved for less than a single retainter for an attonery.
Less Time Consuming – Agreements reached and signed in weeks rather than years.
Less Stress – No stress of the unknown, the legal fees, depositions, or trial.
Preserves relationships – Without the “battle” of court, both parties can approach the divorce from a rational point of view.
Greater overall satisfaction – When the parties determine the outcome of their case, compliance and satisfaction are much higher.
HOW MUCH DOES MEDIATION COST?
Divorce Help Center prevents runaway legal expenses by offering you many alternatives to keeping your total costs down.
You may “pay-as-you-go” with a credit card authorization on file that will be charged for your first meeting only and then on a regular basis only as services are rendered at the rate of $200 per hour. Billing statements will be provided prior to credit card being charged.
Full Divorce – no minor Children – Most cases incur total fees of between $3500-$4000 including all meetings, phone calls, emails, document preparation, changes, and the final signing.
Full Divorce/Allocation of Parental Responsibilities- with minor children – Most cases incur total fees of between $4000-$4500 including all meetings, phone calls, emails, document preparation, changes, and the final signing.
Post Decree modifications -Most cases incur $600-$1000 in fees including all paperwork. .
Compare Medation costs to traditional litigation costs.
- Average Attorney Retainer (per side) – $2500+ – $5000
- Average Hourly Rate: $200 – $400 per hour/ per lawyer
- Total Fees in Case $5000 – $75,000+ per side
- All paid for from your joint marital Assets.
Litigation is Expensive, but $75,000+?
I must be kidding, right?
A recent opinion from the Colorado Court of Appeals confirmed an order of $150,000 in attorney fees and expert witness fees FOR JUST ONE SIDE. In Re Marriage of Rose, 134 P.3d 559 (Colo.App. 2006).
WHAT IS DIVORCE MEDIATION?
Mediation is cooperative problem solving with the assistance of a neutral trained professional, who freed from the role of acting as attorney for either party, can help you see through the emotional element of divorce, and often envision options never considered prior to mediation. Without “lawyering up” attitudes clouding the true concerns of the parties, the Mediator provides each party the opportunity to be heard on various issues. Then focusing on the real concerns of each unique situation, the mediator helps the parties explore various approaches to a resolution.
It is possible to come to an agreement that balances the interests of every party involved while avoiding unnecessary compromise to avoid the high cost of litigation. The process takes place in a private setting with the mediator, usually over several meetings, and once a resolution has been reached on all the divorce issues, then the paperwork is prepared for submission to the court for the dissolution of the marriage..
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE COMPARED TO A REGULAR DIVORCE?
In a regular divorce, attorneys are hired on both sides, usually with a large retainer to start. The divorce process takes place over many months or even years, often with numerous motions, depositions, competing experts, and multiple hearings, often ending in a trial. The cost in time, money, and stress may be enormous because it can become a long, time-consuming, and expensive proposition. Additionally, parties often live in limbo for the entire process, uncertain of the final outcome. In divorce mediation, one mediator is hired for both spouses. The process involves minimal time commitment and quick resolution, with most resolutions reached within 30-90 days.
IS THERE AN INITIAL CONSULTATION FEE?
In our effort to remain neutral, we will only conduct consultations about the specifics of your case in a joint telephone session where both parties are present. Joint 15 minute telephone consultations with both parties are free. In person consultations with both parties are available for $200 with a one hour time limit. This session is limited to an explanation of the mediation and divorce process. No individual case analysis will occur during the consultation.
However, experience has shown that in a consultation, most parties are looking for information on the standards applied in divorces, timeframes for their mediation, and information on rates and fees. We have strived to make all of that information available to you on this website. Please view the Video Vault, read the FAQs, and review the other links on this site to see if mediation is right for you.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION?
- There are many advantages to divorce mediation.
- Controls costs, both emotionally and financially.
- Benefits the children by reducing conflict between parents.
- Enables parties to emerge from divorce with self-respect.
- Establishes a foundation for co-parenting.
- Focuses on the present and the future – not the past.
- Confidential process the parties control rather than attorneys and judges.
- Parties more satisfied with outcome.
- Customized agreements for your unique situation.
- High rate of compliance.
- Greater degree of control over outcome.
- Workable and implementable plans.
WHAT IF WE DON’T WORK IT OUT?
The mediation process may not resolve every case. If a complete resolution is not reached, you are both free to hire attorneys and proceed under the traditional litigated approach with lawyers in a courtroom. Additionally, the mediation process is confidential and nothing said during the mediation can ever be used against you in court or by an opposing attorney.
Also, even if a complete agreement is not reached, even partial agreements can narrow the issues that need to be litigated, further reducing the time and expense of resolving those issues. HOWEVER, understand that if you choose the litigated approach, you will most likely be ordered back to mediation at least one more time before seeing a judge.
ARE THERE CASES NOT APPROPIATE FOR MEDIATION?
Situations involving ongoing domestic violence, child abuse, mental illness, or abuse of drugs or alcohol may make mediation not the best choice. If you are in one of these unfortunate situations, you should consult with an attorney to determine the best handling your case.
However, conflict in domestic relations is natural and normal. Strong feelings and emotions alone should not deter you from considering mediation. Even if you and your partner are not speaking, your trained mediator is experienced in working in such a setting and can craft a mediation process that allows emotional elements to be addressed respectfully without creating roadblocks to resolution.
I ALREADY FILE FOR DIVORCE. CAN WE STILL MEDIATE?
YES. Mediation can occur at any stage in the process and even if the case was filed by you or an attorney, almost all cases are sent to mediation by the court before you can ever see a judge. We believe earlier is better and the most cost effective way to handle cases. However, we have mediated cases after judges enter orders that neither side are happy with as well as years later as circumstances of life have changed.
WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE THE MEDIATION PROCESS?
You are always free to withdraw from the mediation at any time. It is purely a voluntary process and entering mediation doesn’t imply a promise to reach a resolution. However, you can always “try” mediation without lawyers and then opt for attorney litigation if you choose. The contrary is not necessarily true.
Are Experts Ever Needed?
Your mediator always recommends you consult with an attorney if you have any questions or concerns about your agreement BEFORE you sign it.. Additionally, it may be necessary to hire a tax specialist, an accountant, a real estate appraiser, a family investigator, or a financial planner.
THE MEDIATION PROCESS
- At most first meetings, the process is discussed, and the mediator is brougth up to speed on the situaton.
- An agreement to mediate is signed by the parties.
- The mediator will recommend a course of action that may include gathering records, setting another appointment, and/or drafting a proposed agreement.
- A second appointment is usually set at this meeting in a time frame that matches the parties needs. Most appointments will alwasy consist of a joint sessions. However, on occassion the mediator may have individual meetings.
- After each session, the mediaitor makes detailed notes of areas of both agreement and disagreement.
- Drafts of even partial agreements are ciculated electronically.
- Mediation Partners always recommends that the spouses take the agreement to a “consulting attorney” to look over the final document before signing.
- Once signed, the parties file the agreements and all the supporting documents with the court for approval by the Judge and the matter is concluded.
Learn more about how you may benefit from divorce mediation by contacting a Denver divorce mediation attorney at our firm today!