Divorce Mediation: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative to litigation (a divorce through the courts) and it is a method of dispute resolution that is championed and promoted by courts nationwide. With Next Page Mediation, you and your partner will sit down with Jim, a neutral third party, who will help you communicate and come to resolutions that meet the needs of your family.
Why Mediate a Divorce Agreement?
Compared to traditional divorce litigation, mediation is a private, more affordable, more efficient, and calmer process. Perhaps most importantly, you retain a greater measure of control over your own future. You and your partner can decide whether and when to mediate, how fast to proceed, and what type of agreement will best suit the specific needs of your family.
How Does Mediation Work?
After an initial consultation, Jim will meet with you and your partner over a series of sessions to address the terms of your separation agreement. The nature of the mediation process allows Jim to understand your family’s needs in order to customize workable solutions for your future.
How Long Will a Mediation Take?
Mediation sessions will last 1-3 hours. The process will typically require anywhere from 3-5 sessions. However, this process may be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of your case and how quickly you and your partner are able to reach agreement.
What Final Product Can We Expect at The Conclusion of The Mediation?
Jim will prepare a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will document those items which are mutually agreed upon between you and your partner. A MOU will include items such as real estate, household goods, cars, retirement plans, liabilities, debts, whether there will be spousal support, as well as parenting time schedules, vacations, holidays and the amount of any child support.
Are You Able to Help Us File for Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage?
If all matters are agreed to at the conclusion of the mediation, one of the parties to the mediation can retain Jim to prepare the necessary legal documents, such as petitions, decrees, separation agreements and shared parenting plans, for filing on behalf of one of the parties, provided both parties provide their informed written consent. This is in accordance with Ohio Supreme Court guidance.
For couples located outside of Northeast Ohio, Jim can prepare the Memorandum of Understanding and then help you find a local attorney to file the dissolution paperwork.
What Is the Difference Between a Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage?
While “divorce” is a common phrase to describe both divorce and dissolution (and is used interchangeably on this website), the clients of Next Page Mediation will, in most circumstances, technically be seeking a dissolution.
A couple jointly files for dissolution of marriage. They have mutually agreed to end their marriage and have entered into a separation agreement regarding all property division and, if applicable, a parenting plan. A couple does not provide any fault-based grounds for dissolution.
A divorce is different: it begins when one spouse files a civil lawsuit against the other and – unless they reach a settlement – the couple ultimately waits for a court to make final decisions about the terms of their separation.
How Much Does Mediation Cost?
The cost of mediating your divorce with Next Page Mediation will depend on the complexity of your matter and how quickly you and your partner are able to reach agreement. Jim will work as efficiently as possible to achieve your desired outcome at a reasonable cost. Without question, the cost of mediation will be a fraction of the average cost of a traditional divorce – which is approximately $15,000 per person.
Do You Mediations Across the US?
While Jim is located in Cleveland, Ohio, he can handle mediations for residents throughout the state of Ohio as well as Washington State. Session are handled over Zoom. If you’re located outside Northeast Ohio, Jim can help you find a limited scope attorney in your area to prepare the legal documentation based on the Memorandum of Understanding and file for dissolution.
Why Are Mediations Handled Over Zoom?
A mediation conducted over Zoom affords couples the greatest degree of convenience and comfort. You can complete the mediation process from the place most comfortable for you. This technology is just as efficient as in-person meetings. It also allows us to screen-share documents and meet separately in breakout rooms as needed.
Can We Retain Lawyers and Mediate?
Yes, while you do not need to retain a lawyer in order to mediate with Next Page Mediation, you are free to consult with a lawyer at any point during the mediation and can have a lawyer review your settlement agreement.
Why Did You Name This “Next Page Mediation”?
Mediation is both future-focused and self-determinative. At Next Page, you do not have to navigate the litigation gauntlet while waiting for a judge to hand down decisions. Instead, you retain control to write the next chapter for your family with solutions that are workable and tailored to meet your specific needs.
For Washington State residents: How Can Jim Help Me?
Jim practiced law for 10 years in Washington State and was a partner at a major Seattle law firm. He regularly works with Washington-based clients referred to him. Jim is able mediate with couples and complete a comprehensive memorandum of understanding as to all financial and shared parenting agreements. He can then pass that agreement on to a Washington-based lawyer who can affordably file the paperwork.