Family Law Mediation

Philadelphia Family Law Mediation

Divorce mediation is becoming very common throughout the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey area for many reasons. It makes the situation substantially less draining emotionally, financially and psychologically. Mediation gives you the power to make decision regarding your own divorce, what is best for the both of you as well as your children. In mediation, you and your spouse meet with a neutral third party, the mediation attorney, and with their help, you work through the issues you need to resolve so the two of you can end your marriage as amicably and cost effective as possible. Common issues covered include but at not limited to the following:

  1. Distribution of Property (Assets/Liabilities)
  2. Child Custody, Visitation and Parenting Time
  3. Child Support and modification
  4. Retirement
  5. Spousal Support and modification
  6. Taxes

To learn more about divorce mediation and family law mediation please do not hesitate to contact the Philadelphia family law attorneys at Jensen Bagnato, P.C. by dialing (215) 546-4700.

Family Law Mediation Frequently Asked Questions

Dissolving a marriage is never easy or seamless. Money is involved, there are many emotions associated with divorce and people can act more out of fear than what is ultimately best for the adults, children, etc.

There is a growing trend in the Philadelphia area where couples seek mediation to resolve marital issues that arise during divorce. Below are a list of common questions our Philadelphia family law mediation attorneys encounter regarding mediation. Please use the answers as educational information. We provide mediation services to residents of the greater Philadelphia area including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County and Philadelphia County. In addition several of our attorneys are licensed to practice law in New Jersey.

What can I accomplish with mediation?

During mediation, a neutral and trained facilitator from our office will manage communication and negotiations between you and the other party involved (example – spouse, ex-spouse, significant other) in order for everyone to achieve a voluntary and mutually acceptable solution to any contested issues.

Depending on the nature of the session, the mediator may request for the parties to have a private session or a joint session. During a private session, the mediator will meet with each party one-on-one time to discuss the issues and possible resolutions. The mediator will go back and forth between each party until an agreement is reached.

During a joint session, both parties meet to discuss issues. Parties can choose to have mediation sessions with or without the presence of counsel. Your mediation session can range from 6-10 hours depending on how many issues need to be addressed.

If you are seeking to settle all issues of your case without the assistance of the court, you should definitely consider attending mediation. By agreeing to mediate, you will not relinquish any of your legal rights. If you believe that the opposing party will come to mediation to resolve all disputes in good faith, then mediation may be right for you.

Nevertheless, if you are a victim of domestic violence, mediation may not be in your best interest. Contact our domestic violence attorneys to find out why.

How much does mediation cost?

The cost of mediation will depend greatly on the skills and experience of the mediator and the complexity of your case. The average hourly rate for a mediator in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey area ranges anywhere from $300 to $500.

What happens if mediation does not resolve my issues?

If you are unable to resolve your issues during mediation, you will not lose out on anything. Your case may still go to court unresolved to be trialed. Nevertheless, there is still a window of opportunity for your case to settle before going to trial.

Most couples who agree to attend mediation often settle all of their issues. If couples are unable to come to a resolution, it is typically due to the unwillingness of one party or both parties. Perhaps a party may have had unreasonable expectations. There is no definite answer, but parties tend to walk away with a resolution, or are close to reaching one.

Do I need a lawyer for mediation?

No. You are not required to retain a lawyer prior to seeking mediation. However, most people seek legal advice prior to making important decisions about their future, especially when children are involved. Contact our legal team to find out what your legal rights are regarding your divorce.

What documents do I need to bring?

Some of the documents we review prior to the commencement of service are both parties income and expense documents, tax returns, and documentation of assets and liabilities. We will provide you with a detailed list of what to bring to make sure you come prepared.

We invite you to contact Philadelphia law office to learn more about our divorce and family law mediation services and how we can help you.

Why You Should Avoid Mediation Mills

What Is A Mediation Mill?

Mediation mills prioritize quantity over quality and take on an exceptionally high volume of cases. Mediation mills often have poor reputations and are thereby forced to recruit clients through aggressive and extensive advertising. If you want to reach a successful agreement without having to go to trial to resolve a dispute, avoid a mediation mill. Instead, find a mediator or divorce attorney who will place your best interest above their bottom line.

Why You Should Avoid Mediation Mills

Instead of seeking the best interest of their clients, a mill mediator will avoid trial in pursuit of a quick, cheap negotiation. Mediation mills employ inexperienced or less-qualified mediators who are driven by incentives or quotas. They are less interested in achieving fair, favorable outcomes for their clients. They seek faster turn-around to gain higher profits for their firm. Mills are also notorious for juggling triple or quadruple the number of cases handled by other firms. To do this, they simply provide mediocre service to clients unaware of the value they could find elsewhere. Rather than seeking a mutual agreement between the parties, they pursue efficiency and will overlook issues that could cost you greatly in the end.

Recognize Mediation Mills

Not all mediation firms that advertise are considered mills. However, there are some signs to help you separate the wheat from the chaff. A mill will likely handle hundreds of cases at a time. This divided attention will no doubt show in their interactions with you. Look out for red flags, like short or vague email responses, a lack of knowledge on the legal principles pertinent to your case, or an unwillingness to engage in real dialogue. Such mediators will often appear overly confident and take on a more pastoral tone. Also, be alert if your mediator seems aloof or disinterested. If you’re still unsure, ask for recommendations from previous clients. Any reputable firm will be able to direct you to at least a few satisfied clients. If they can’t refer you to at least one, it might be time to head for the door. When in doubt, always follow your intuition.

Attrutes To Look For in A Mediation Attorney

Divorce mediators have a tough job. They must remain neutral with sensitive legal issues, while providing a quality service that will lead to an amenable agreement. Effective mediators will strive to create an environment that is both collaborative and controlled. This means it is the mediator’s job to motivate each side to work together to reach the best possible resolution. When looking for a mediator, make sure the person seems genuinely interested in the good of both parties. They should be aware of the issues at stake, address any questions or concerns in a thorough and informed manner, and be willing to engage in a two-sided dialogue.

With a mediation mill, efficiency trumps quality. If you want to avoid the added time and costs of litigation, stay away from mediation mills. Instead, seek a quality mediator or attorney who can focus on the pertinent details case and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

If you have concerns or questions regarding whether or not mediation may be an option for you please contact Jensen Bagnato, P.C. today for a free consultation. Dial (215) 546-4700 for a free consultation.