Mediation is the most sane and civilized pathway to a good divorce settlement.
In divorce and family mediation, you and your spouse will negotiate the terms of your separation in a safe, cooperative, and constructive way. Mediation is an opportunity for you to talk about and plan for the future without becoming stuck in the past. You’ll settle all of your financial issues. You’ll make a parenting plan that makes sense for your children. And you will do this without the conflict and expense associated with lawyers and litigation. Less conflict means less stress on you and your children.
We know what you are going through. Separation and divorce are hard. You and your ex must assume new roles and responsibilities with respect to each other and your kids. Mediation provides a safe place for you to renegotiate these relationships.
Frequently asked questions about mediation
Mediation is a process in which a neutral expert helps parties resolve their conflict. Unlike a judge or arbitrator, the mediator does not make decisions for the parties. Instead, he or she guides the parties through a structured negotiation toward a settlement. The mediator helps identify issues, eliminate communication barriers, and evaluate possible solutions.
Simple, really. It’s faster, cheaper, more convenient, and less stressful than the alternatives. Plus, you get to decide what happens to your money and what’s best for your children.
Most cases can be successfully mediated in 3-6 sessions occurring over a few weeks. To keep things manageable, we usually work in blocks of 2-3 hours. We will ask you to do some homework between sessions. This typically involves gathering information and thinking about your proposals. The more prepared you are, the faster you will reach a resolution.
Mediation occurs in private, and you and your spouse can agree to keep matters discussed and your agreements confidential.
Also, we as mediators owe our clients a duty of confidentiality. This means we won’t disclose what you tell us in mediation, except in very limited circumstances.
Mediation focuses on the needs and interests of each party. We discourage making threats or demands and positional bargaining. As experienced mediators, we will maintain a calm, cooperative environment, even if your relationship is strained. As a result of mediation, over time you and your ex may be able to turn a negative relationship into a positive one. This is especially important if you have children.
The short answer is that it depends on you. We bill hourly for time spent in mediation, reviewing documents, and summarizing information and agreements reached by you. There’s no retainer; you pay as you go. You can commit to mediation one session at a time and can stop if it is not working for you. For your convenience, we accept major credit cards, as well as checks.
You can do things to reduce your costs. The more work you do between sessions, such as gathering, organizing, and accurately summarizing financial records, the faster you will proceed through mediation.
You do not need a lawyer to mediate. In most cases we handle, unless mediation has been court-ordered, lawyers do not attend and do not negotiate on behalf of the parties.
However, we do recommend that you hire attorneys and consult with them during the process. As mediators, we cannot advise you about how a judge might decide your case. Also, we cannot draft your separation agreement or prepare divorce pleadings. A lawyer can help you with these things, and we can recommend some who will do so for a reasonable fee.
During initial phone calls and at the orientation session, we carefully screen each case to determine if mediation is appropriate. Generally, mediation is not appropriate in cases involving spousal abuse or where one party has a motive other than negotiating a settlement in good faith. In addition, we reserve the right to end mediation if one party tries to dominate the negotiation or improperly influence the decisions of the other, or if a proposed agreement is unconscionable.
Choosing the right mediator is essential for a successful result.
We’re committed to being the most effective divorce and family mediation practice in the Triangle. Here are some things that we think set us apart.
Sean and Gina Vitrano work as a mediation team. It’s a fact that men and women communicate differently. Remember “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus?” Husbands and wives have different perspectives regarding their marital relationship, how to parent children, and how to manage the physical, emotional, and financial aspects of separation and divorce. Having mediators of both genders present thus promotes better overall communication.
A successful negotiation depends upon both of you understanding the other’s needs and interests, as well as your own. Accordingly, we’ll help you hear your partner — even if both of you are angry or upset — and we’ll help your partner hear you.
We focus exclusively on helping spouses resolve issues related to their marriage out of court. Our work has helped dozens of couples come up with parenting and financial agreements that work well in the real world. Additionally, we regularly attend advanced continuing divorce and family mediation education. And we serve as trainers and mentors for other mediators, as well as leaders in organizations that teach and promote dispute resolution.
Mediation can be scheduled around your schedules, including in the evening and on Saturdays. Many couples find this convenient because they are juggling work and child care obligations. In some cases, we can conduct mediation by video conference or telephone.