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To get my mind off dogs......appears we will be heading to mediation at some point. Anyone like to share their experience? Is everyone in the same room? Did you find the mediator truly unbiased? How much time are you given to accept the proposal?(I.e. I'm not sure that I can sit through a meeting and at the end fully commit to it.). Did you get anything through the mediation process that you thought might be a longshot going the trial route. Any other tips?
Two rooms. Mediator goes between. Two sessions lasting about 6 hours total. Got about 98% of an agreement down. Nothing is in stone and one doesn't have to commit on the spot. Problem with that is during the downtime NJ tried to tweak it more and ultimately it all fell apart.
Best suggestion I have is define your goals, know what you can stomach, and try to get it before you leave.
Oneforthree wrote:Best suggestion I have is define your goals, know what you can stomach, and try to get it before you leave.
I agree. You should be aware that most cases don't make it to court and end in mediation. Make your list of must have's and things you can negotiate away. Bring it with you, but don't show it to anyone except maybe your attorney.
You should attempt to mediate as many things as possible. For example, you may agree on legal custody, but not the custody schedule or financial settlement. Should you have to litigate certain issues, it is to your benefit to go into court with as many issues settled as possible. It will reduce your legal fees.
To share my mediation experiences, I've done it 3 times:
1. For the divorce mediation, we were in separate rooms. The mediator was an X-Judge (who got ousted because she got drunk and naked at some official party). We were in separate rooms. She went back and forth and we were there for about 4 hours. She spent a lot more time with the NJ than with me and made several comments to make me feel good about the mediation. I got 50/50 and was ok with that but I really didn't know what I was doing. I should have gotten primary if I was informed.
2. We went for a modification. Same mediator, separate rooms. I was pretty sure mediation wouldn't work, and I was there about 30 minutes. The mediator told me I would lose my case in court and I still refused to give everything up. I took my case to court and the mediator was right. I lost.
3. We went to the courthouse mediator. I asked for separate rooms, but the mediator said she wouldn't do that unless things got ugly. We mediated for about 2 hours and I got about 90% of what I wanted. The mediator was very good, but she wasn't a lawyer. Again, she mostly spent her time explaining things to the X, and how things would be and I sat back and said yes, or no, and that I'd be happy to take that issue to the judge if we can't agree and move on to the next thing. I was amazed at her ability to convince the NJ to sign off on stuff. I thanked her profusely after the mediation.
Mine was court appointed and was totally biazed and when she leaped up to give NJ box of tissue during phony crying phase, I got up and walked out. I had my attorney draft a plan and took it to the judge instead which was better in my case.
Like otherss said, have a plan before. You always have the option off hiring a private mediator but will most likelly have to pay all the costs vut you shiykd get better results.
"Remember....all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more" - Morpheus
What I really didn't appreciate was that there was not an opportunity to read the mediated results before it went to the judge for his signature. We agreed on things, but neither of us had to sign anything while we were there.
I feel my attny left alot of things out. For example, it states I get the kids even years for holidays "till Sunday at six". What I wanted it to read is "until six before the next school day".
Big difference with a few choice words. If and when I have to do it again, I def want to read it before it goes to the judge.
"Fathom the hypocrisy of a government that requires every citizen to prove they are insured but not everyone must prove they are a citizen".
Mine was in separate rooms, my attorney and I showed up 15 minutes early and NJ and her attorney were 15 minutes late, so had some quality time with the mediator. She and my attorney knew each other, NJ was using out of town attorney (friend of sleazy lawyer Mr. Wonderful), so I had friendly familiarity on my side. My attorney and I were in mediator's personal office, NJ/attorney were in the office library. Mediation went on for two hours, NJ didn't ask for any kind of custody, just was fighting having to pay any child support from the year and a half I had the kids while she was partying and not paying a dime to help support them. After it was all done, NJ and her attorney took off like a shot, and mediator was a bit taken aback that NJ hadn't seen kids in over a month yet didn't ask to have lunch or anything with them while she was in town. Then afterwards NJ was bragging on FB how she "got everything she asked for" at mediation, which didn't include the kids. No complaints here.
"Your problem is you shook a wh0re tree and expected an angel to drop out."
I settled via mediation. IMO, one of the best things you can do is shop around for a good mediator. Mine was good (but tough!) and had spent time as both a lawyer and divorce judge.
Then you decide what you want, and put together parenting plan, financial numbers and divorce decree. Talk to your lawyer about the "likely outcome" if you go to court. You generally don't want to accept less than that at mediation, but there is a lot of uncertainty in going to court.
I ended up agreeing to 10K alimony over 2 years since I figured this was what my lawyer would charge me for a 2 or 3 day trial and at least the alimony is tax deductable.
Ours was a lawyer and mediator - she was great. We stated what we were looking for...an amicable divorce - and she helped to make it so. She praised us on keeping our extended families noses out of the process, and for always keeping the kids best interests in mind. We met in the same room together 3 times - 1st to get the lay of the land, 2nd to go over the legalise of how "what we wanted" was going to work in the real world, 3rd to go over the final "offer" to the courts. Then we had a "signing party". Our only hiccups was CS & alimony - I really didnt want any...but because he made well over 5 times what I did (I was back in college after 5 years of raising kids when we seperated...and had a FT "slightly better than peon" $25K/yr job to pay the bills) - the courts "frowned upon" zero funds changing hands. She let us know the bare minimum that they would accept me taking, and we set it as such. I waived all alimony rights - it's his education and hard work that earns his paycheck, not mine. Custody - we were adamant that we had 50/50 - it was 10 years ago...so it was greeted with skepticism - but we prevailed. She brought to light number of things that we never would have thought of..ie; child care, education, schools, medical care etc...so she saved us from making a lot of errors. It helped to discuss and come to these decision with a legal party in the room...not only to bring up the questions that needed answering, but to guide us on what was legal and what was not. She called him out for being an < hindquarters > at times, but also called me out for not thinking of my future enough (for the record - I did just fine on my own...the CS still helps...but it's mainly so I can afford to semi-match him level of cost of living ie; vacations, kids clothing, toys, 529 plans...etc...). She jumped in when discussions about the items in the house became tense - she kept us focused. And when we both teared up at the signing...she was there to calm us both. In the end - we were both able to walk away feeling comfortable in our plan for the future. And to this day (although I am sure he still resents the piddling amount he is required to send me - despite his income more than doubling and the CS never changing), we can still work together in the best interests of the kids, we socialize together in groups (I "play well with others"...so I can grit my teeth through his sarcasm most of the time)...all in all - we are on good terms - and a lot of that is due to the mediator in the beginning - taking us by the hand and leading us through the scary process.
Raised by a wonderful single dad. Current Mom of 2. Happily co-parenting since 2002.