What is Mediation?
Mediation is an out-of-court process that is driven by the cooperation of parties who share a common goal to reach a mutually-beneficial settlement. In mediation, a neutral third party (called the mediator) guides the couple in their discussions of the issues, and assists them in reaching an mutual agreement. The mediator does not act as an advocate but as a facilitator who helps the clients reach resolution of issues.
Interested in learning more about mediation? Visit our “What is Mediation?” page for more details about the process.
Why chose Conscious Divorce?
In addition to being a trained, experienced mediator, Michael Cotugno, Esq is also a seasoned family law attorney with extensive knowledge of the legal process, family law, and the court system. You can be confident in knowing that you are receiving accurate and up-to-date legal information so you can make informed decisions throughout your mediation.
With mediation, you can complete your divorce:
- Less Expensively
- More Amicably
- More Peacefully
- With Minimal Stress to You & Your Children
Comprehensive Mediation at a Flat Fee
At Conscious Divorce, we don’t think your legal fees should be shrouded in mystery. You’ll know upfront what you’ll pay with our all-inclusive, Flat-Fee Mediation Package, thus eliminating the anxiety of unknown, mounting legal bills.
Contact us schedule a Free 15 minute phone consultation to meet Michael and briefly discuss your situation and options for moving forward.
Still not sure if mediation right for you?
Check out these top 10 benefits of Mediation to see why we believe it is the better alternative to litigation.
- No Court: Mediation is an out-of-court process protecting all participants (and their families) from the war-zone of court battles.
- Cooperative: Mediation is a voluntary process that is driven by the cooperation of parties who share a common goal to reach a mutually beneficial settlement. Family law is about compromise. Generally, there’s no such thing as “winning” in a divorce case. The only winners are the attorneys who rack up huge fees and eat up the limited resources your family has. The best outcome to work toward is a compromise that meets everyone’s needs so that you and your former spouse can move on with your lives.
- You’re In Control: Couples, not the Court, make their own decisions regarding co-parenting plans, financial responsibilities, and the division of their assets and debts. If you choose to litigate, a stranger makes all the decisions about the most personal and important details of your life, such as when you get to see your children, how much you’re required to pay for their and your former spouse’s support and maintenance, and who’s responsible to pay the extensive attorneys’ and other experts’ fees that result from fighting. Most judges do not have adequate time to give your case the attention it needs to make reasonable decisions about your and your family’s situation, so why pay so much money to leave it all up to a judge? Also, you have the flexibility to try out agreements to see if they are beneficial for you and your family, as opposed to an order from a judge that must be followed, without flexibility.
- Less Emotional Stress: Emphasis is placed on negotiating solutions, and away from placing blame and perpetuating the fight. For a mediation to be successful, the participants must do just that; participate, which inevitably leads toward healing and closure. All too often in litigation cases, the parties simply defer to whatever their attorney recommends without directly dealing with the challenges that arise. This might be fine if their attorney has their best interests at heart and takes the time to fully understand the needs and concerns of the client, and puts them before their own interests (more billable hours), but this is typically not the case. Remaining in a state of denial and suppressing feelings leads to more stress down the road, and much higher legal bills. A good mediator empowers the participants, encourages them to focus their attention on realizing positive solutions, provides a certain level of emotional support, and assures they are well-informed regarding their rights, obligations, and options.
- Better For Your Children: A critical part of mediation is learning to communicate better. Since both parties work together to develop a child-centered plan, it encourages more effective long-term co-parenting and provides clear communication strategies, which help to reduce conflict down the road. Many years of research shows that children adapt to a divorce, but what sets them back is the degree of animosity between the parents. By working with a good mediator who facilitates authentic communication between the parties, children stand to benefit significantly long-term.
- Faster: A successful mediation can be accomplished much sooner than a litigated divorce. Because you set the schedule, divorce mediation is much faster than litigation – you don’t have to rely on the court’s schedule. The average litigated divorce case takes over 2 years to complete through entry of judgment. Plus, the likelihood of post-judgment litigation is much higher if the case was litigated previously.
- Less Expensive: Divorce mediation is the most cost effective means of conflict resolution when utilizing the services of a professional. Many mediation cases resolve for under $5,000 per couple; however, litigation cases average $40,000 per spouse and (collaborative divorce cases average $20,000 per spouse, but this is due to the support of multiple experts, including at least 2 attorneys, and often other experts such as forensic accountants, therapists, etc.).
- Private: Mediation is private and confidential, keeping details of your personal life out of the public record. Now-a-days, more and more courts are allowing online access to court records, making it far easier for anyone to obtain extensive personal information about the parties in a divorce action. Also, considering the adversarial nature of divorce litigation, the information the public is able to obtain from a case tends to be less flattering than the parties might like, to say the least.
- Unbiased, Neutral, and Safe: A good mediator provides a save, support, and neutral environment to facilitate authentic communication between the parties. He or she also guides the participants through the identification of all relevant issues, all of their mandatory financial disclosure requirements, instructs participants on the fundamentals of the relevant legal issues, and provides creative options and settlement strategies. An effective mediator also assures a voluntary and well-informed agreement is reached that is not a result of coercion, manipulation, or harassment.
- Effective: Private divorce mediation is highly effective, with a success rate of over 85%. Because participants have a much more participatory role in the resolution of the ultimate agreement, satisfaction and compliance rates are much higher for mediation than litigation as well. It’s a simple fact that a participant in mediation who invests their time and energy into working out an agreement is far more likely to uphold their end of the bargain; just as a litigating party is much less likely to comply with an order that is forced upon them over their objection.