Mediation & Collaborative Law

Practice Areas

Mediation
Mediation is a voluntary process in which a neutral third party works with the parties to reach a mutually satisfactory resolution. Divorce Mediation provides individuals contemplating a divorce or going through a divorce with a safe and neutral space to work through the issues of the divorce with the assistance of a trained divorce mediator. Mediation is similar to the collaborative divorce process in that it is a non-adversarial, settlement-driven approach to divorce. Generally with divorce mediation, the attorneys do not participate in the mediation sessions. Whereas in a collaborative divorce, the attorneys, clients, and coach/facilitator all meet on a regular basis. Please refer to our “forms” page and open the Divorce Mediation Agenda for a sample of the issues that will be discussed during the divorce mediation process.

Why Choose Mediation?
Mediation is beneficial for multiple reasons. One reason is that mediation allows the parties to maintain control over the outcome of their dispute without the decision resting in the hands of the judge. Additionally, mediation is usually far more cost efficient than retaining individual attorneys and pursuing traditional litigation. However, it is still highly recommended that each party obtains an attorney to review any agreement written up as a result of the mediation process.

In general, a divorce can cost each party upwards of $5,000-$20,000 in attorney fees. At Hera Law Group, we charge $300-$350 per hour depending on which attorney is mediating your case. We find that a divorce mediation typically takes between 8 and 15 hours. Mediation sessions are usually done in 2 hour blocks of time, but 1 hour blocks may also be used.

What is a Collaborative Divorce?
A Collaborative Divorce is a process that allows individuals that have decided to end their marriage to work with their lawyers to facilitate a settlement that best meets the needs of the entire family without the underlying threat of litigation. In other words, the terms of the divorce are settled outside of court. Collaborative divorces promote an atmosphere of cooperation, thus avoiding the combative atmosphere that pervades so many divorces. Both spouses have the intention of coming to an agreement that is fair to everyone, including the spouses and any minor children they have.

Why Choose a Collaborative Divorce?
A collaborative divorce allows the spouses to retain control of decision-making, thus avoiding having a judge make decisions for you on all contested issues. Choosing a collaborative approach helps individuals rationally navigate through difficult, emotionally charged decisions and situations.

An attorney that is trained in collaborative divorce can help you through those difficult decisions and situations by bringing in specialists such as financial planners, appraisers, and mental health professionals as needed to reach an agreement that benefits the individuals and their children, if any. The attorneys involved also sign a disqualification clause which states that if the collaborative approach does not work, they are disqualified from representing their client in the litigation. This helps promote the collaborative process and hopefully ensures an ultimate resolution outside of litigation.

A collaborative divorce can be significantly less costly than a conventionally litigated divorce.

How Does a Collaborative Divorce Work?
In a collaborative divorce, both parties must agree to obtain attorneys trained in collaborative law. The clients, attorneys, and a coach/facilitator will sign a Collaborative Process Agreement. The clients, attorneys, and coach/facilitator actively participate in meetings during which negotiations and discussions take place to work towards an agreement. The specialists mentioned above might be brought in if necessary. Once a settlement is reached, the attorneys draft an agreement that represents the decisions made by the clients. The agreement is then submitted to the court for approval.

To schedule a free consultation to discuss mediation or collaborative law please call Hera Law Group at 978-637-2048 or email office@heralawgroup.com.

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