Mediation FAQs

Below are some questions that are frequently asked by my clients about the divorce mediation process. For more information or to schedule a consultation, get in touch with me, divorce and family law attorney Sarina Gianna. Call my Ocean County, New Jersey, office at 732-451-6849 or contact me online.


Do I Need A Lawyer During Mediation?

No. You are not required to have individual representation to mediate. In fact, many couples turn to mediation as a more amicable and cost-effective way to get divorced. That being said, cases with more complex or complicated issues or cases that are already in the midst of litigation will most certainly involve individual representation as well as mediation.


Does Mediation Work For Everyone?

No, but it works for many couples, not just for couples who already know how to cooperate. The job of the mediator is to re-frame issues and help you and your spouse to focus on a mutually acceptable solution. It does take willingness on the part of both parties to speak frankly and freely.


How Is Divorce Mediation Different From Litigation?

Divorce mediation is a private, cooperative, nonadversarial process in which parties work together to create an agreement that is fair to both sides. It is designed to save time and money and to preserve relationships. Litigation is an adversarial process, which is both expensive and time-consuming. Studies show that children suffer more in a high-conflict divorce — and that it is the level of conflict that affects the children negatively, not the divorce itself.


How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?

The length of mediation process is entirely within your control and depends on the level of cooperation between parties and on the complexity of and number of issues to be decided on. On average, mediation can range between eight and 15 hours, or two to three months from start to finish; however, it could be less if there are no children and it is not necessary to cover parent and child support issues. Some of that time is spent gathering documents and submitting them to the mediator, some is spent negotiating the issues and some is spent drafting the final paperwork.


How Much Does Mediation Cost?

Mediators usually charge by the hour at the same rate as attorneys. Payment is usually made at the time of the session and is paid by either one or both of the parties, as they agree. In addition, mediators may also charge a fee for the preparation of a Memorandum of Understanding or draft a Property Settlement Agreement, either on an hourly basis or a flat rate, depending on the circumstances.

Mediation is often less expensive than attorneys' fees incurred in traditional divorce proceedings. The parties pay one mediator instead of two attorneys and do not have to prepare papers or engage in costly arguments before a court as to discovery and procedural issues. Mediation also is often less expensive than traditional divorce proceedings because the parties are cooperating with one another and not constantly fighting in court.


If We Decide To Mediate, Do We Still Need Attorneys?

Both parties are encouraged to consult with an independent review attorney to review the mediated agreement. Mediators do not give legal advice so a legal consultation can help clients understand how the law applies to their particular situation.


We Have Already Consulted Attorneys, Is It Too Late To Mediate?

No. It is never too late to try to mediate. Even if litigation has begun, just explain to your attorneys that you would like to take a break to try mediation. Everything that is said in mediation is confidential and cannot later be used if the case returns to litigation.


What Should We Expect From The Mediator?

You can expect your mediator to remain neutral and guide you toward an agreement that both parties are comfortable with. Your mediator will listen to the concerns and goals of each party and help you remain focused on issues of concern. Mediation is a self-determined process so your mediator's goal is to help you form an agreement that is in the best interest of you and your children.


Will Our Mediator Give Us Legal Advice About Our Particular Situation?

No. Your mediator will remain a neutral third party throughout the entire mediation process and at no time will your mediator give you legal advice. Even if your mediator is also an attorney, legal advice is never given. Your mediator may provide you information on what particular laws relate to your particular situation, but you are encouraged to consult with a review attorney for legal advice.


Contact Me For More Information About Divorce Mediation

Call the Law Office of Sarina Gianna, LLC, today to further discuss mediation FAQs and other family law issues: 732-451-6849. You can also reach me through my online contact form.