Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Hire a Divorce Mediator?

divorce mediator brings value to the process as a neutral third-party, having no agenda other than to facilitate an agreement. Mediators bring their experience, perspective, creativity, good will, listening, and communication skills to the forefront of the settlement process. If the parties have not moved toward a resolution on their own, or have only moved part of the way, then the assistance of a third-party mediator is a likely crucial step to a settlement. The mediator is neither a judge nor an arbitrator, but rather a catalyst for the parties to reach their own agreement.

A divorce is more than preparing a divorce settlement agreement. Affordable Mediation ensures that all of the legal, life, and financial aspects of a divorce are addressed properly and in small manageable pieces. Learn more about our simple, easy Divorce Mediation 5-Step Process©.

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peer conference
Mara conducting Peer Mediation conference

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process wherein a neutral person assists the parties to a dispute in achieving an agreed-upon resolution. The goal of mediation is to assist parties in reaching a workable agreement. Mediators use various techniques to assist the parties in reaching a settlement that is feasible for both parties. You may meet jointly with the mediator or in a separate session (called a caucus). Mediation does not produce a “decision” by the mediator. Only the parties to a mediation can agree to settle their dispute and decide on the best terms for settlement.

A divorce mediator focuses solely on achieving a mutual, effective agreement between two parties on all the terms of a divorce or separation. In addition to a comprehensive Divorce Settlement Agreement, Affordable Mediation offers a variety of tools and services to address all of the legal, financial, and personal details of a divorce or separation.

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Do We Have Too Many Complex Issues to Use Divorce Mediation? We Own a Business and Multiple Properties. I Thought Mediation is Only For Simple Divorces?

For almost 17 years, we have mediated divorces that have included multi-million dollar properties, businesses, and other “complex” issues. Mediation can be used in almost every divorce or separation. Our extensive experience and background in the legal, financial and emotional aspects of divorce allows us to address a variety of perceived challenges.  We have the ability to understand and discuss high level, sophisticated, financial, retirement, property, business, estate and tax issues.  When needed, we include financial and other professionals in the process as part of a collaborative mediation team to ensure all items are properly addressed.

Note that if you have Minimal assets or low net worth, we have lower cost tiers through our Affordable Mediation division where you’ll work with our newer mediators.

For Moderate or Complex assets or higher net worth, we offer full service Mediation through our Modern Mediation division.

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Can We Mediate Before We Have Really Made the Decision to Divorce?

Mediation is about providing you with the guidance, support, and information that you each need to make decisions about your life. Many couples meet with Affordable Mediation before they have made any decisions simply so that they can identify all of their options before taking any legal steps.

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Will I Still Have to Go to Court?

No, we will handle everything for you.  You do not have to appear in front of a judge, even if children are involved. Affordable Mediation has implemented a streamlined procedure that greatly reduces your involvement in the court process, saving you time and stress.  In most cases, you will never need to go to the Court due to our completely virtual signing and filing process.

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If a Judge is Not Involved Who Makes the Decisions?

In Divorce Mediation, the couple controls every aspect of the divorce process including: how quickly or slowly decisions are made, when the divorce Petition is filed, and what the terms of the divorce will be in the Settlement Agreement. Each step is by agreement, in contrast to the adversarial process in which attorneys set court dates and judges make decisions with very limited time and information.

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Why is Mediation with Affordable Mediation and Modern Mediation Less Expensive Than Lawyers?

At Affordable Mediation and Modern Mediation, our focus is on providing high quality, premier, professional mediation services for less cost than hiring 2 separate attorneys to drag you through litigation.  We’re here to help you through a collaborative mediation process.  Our prices are in alignment with what other highly skilled, experienced attorney mediators charge.  This leaves your wealth with your family; instead of divorce lawyers.

We are mindful that divorce is a financial strain on most everyone; regardless of net worth.  So, we discuss creative ways to maximize your financial situation even while going through a divorce.  Not only are our mediation fees significantly less than attorneys’ fees, but we offer tips and ideas on how to reduce other costs when working through your divorce agreements.  By thinking long-term and smartly, we can strategize ways to reduce the financial impact of the divorce on you and your family’s financial situation; while keeping in mind retirement and other wealth management strategies.

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How long after mediation is divorce final?

On average my clients take 3-5 months total for the divorce process. In Arizona, the fastest you can get divorced is 61 days from the date of Service (the second filing). Some clients take 1-2 years. It’s a very personal process and timing is entirely up to them. However, the vast majority take 3-5 month. Here’s a blog I prepared on the mediated divorce timeline.  Note recent changes with the court have expedited e-filed Decrees so that Judges/Commissioners should sign them within 21 days.

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How Much Does Divorce Mediation Cost?

We invite you to schedule a consult to discuss your particular situation and receive an estimate on time and costs.  However, for couples with Minimal assets or low net worth, services through Affordable Mediation start as low as $3,500.  If you were to retain separate attorneys to represent each of you in your divorce, legal fees could run $40,000-$100,000 or more.

For Moderate or Complex Assets or higher net worth, Modern Mediation provides a professional boutique, collaborative mediation process with a highly skilled and experienced Mediator, who is an Arizona licensed attorney for more than 31 years and has a background in Counseling Psychology. For more sophisticated community assets, a collaborative mediation team is often involved, including a divorce/co-parenting coach, a financial neutral, a retirement specialist and/or attorney consultants.  These Collaborative Team Mediations©  (CTM©) cost typically $1,000s less than “collaborative divorces.”  Our streamlined processes, use of innovation, and our extensive legal background allow us to provide highly professional divorce services and support at a fraction of the cost of a traditional litigated divorce or even a collaborative divorce.

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How does divorce mediation work?

Couples meet with a neutral mediator to discuss options, address concerns and develop mutually workable short and long term agreements. If the mediator is also an Arizona licensed attorney, the mediator can prepare all the court documents, settlement agreements, parenting plans and the divorce decree.

Couples may also meet separately or together with a Divorce or Co-Parenting Coach.  Your Coach provides assistance with emotions, talking to the kids about divorce, co-parenting tips, and support during and after your divorce.

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How many divorce mediation sessions are needed?

Depending on the complexity of your situation and financial estate, mediations can take as few as 2 sessions or up to 4 or 5 sessions or more.  We provide significant, written guidance to allow you to work on items outside of session, so you can streamline how many sessions you may need.  But, we remain available for all the support you wish.

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What does a mediator do in a divorce?

The mediator facilitates open communication between the couple. Often in a divorce situation, communication can get strained or break down. The mediator manages the discussion, the emotions and helps everyone move forward. The mediator may offer suggestions, ideas and help each person recognize and acknowledge the other’s point of view. Couples using a third party neutral mediator are much more likely to end up on the same page on most if not all issues.

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How to prepare for divorce mediation?

First, download our free Divorce Mediation Preparation Checklist!

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