Answering Your Questions About Family Law And Mediation
Divorce and other family law disputes are emotional affairs even when estranged spouses choose to remain civil. If you and your soon-to-be-ex are willing to work together to resolve your conflict, you may not need to involve the court in your family matters. Engaging in mediation, rather than litigation, may help you find mutually acceptable solutions to complex problems.
I am attorney Teena Johnson, and I use mediation to help my clients divorce with less conflict. If you are considering engaging in mediation, you probably have questions about this form of alternative dispute resolution. Please read on to find answers to questions that my clients have asked me over the years. Then, contact my Tacoma office to discuss your concerns.
What is mediation and how can it help?
Mediation is a type of dispute resolution that empowers parties to find solutions to their own legal problems. Divorce mediation aims to take the animosity and the courtroom out of the divorce process while keeping each party informed of the legal repercussions of their decisions. As a result, parties can make educated decisions about issues that may affect them and their loved ones for years.
During mediation, a neutral third party can help both people come to an agreement about child custody, spousal support and other divorce-related concerns outside of the courtroom. This approach is more flexible and cost-effective than litigation, reducing the time you spend on this matter, your legal fees and the stress that accompanies a prolonged dispute.
If you decide to pursue this approach, I can represent you or serve as the mediator in your matter.
How much does mediation cost?
Each family law conflict is different so there is no one fixed rate for all mediations. On a whole, however, mediations are less expensive than divorce litigation. When both parties get along and are able to agree to terms quickly, they can save a substantial amount of money. The number of sessions that you require to address your dispute will determine the cost.
Do I still need an attorney for mediation?
Not always. During mediation, both parties will work together to make decisions about their separation with a third-party mediator. I have practiced law in Washington since 2000, so I have an intimate understanding of the state laws that govern divorce, child custody, property division, child support and other family law issues. If you hire me to mediate your dispute, though as a neutral I cannot give either of you legal advice, I will educate you on your obligations and your options.
How can I prepare for mediation? What do I need?
It depends on your situation, but it’s important to go into a mediation discussion prepared. If you have children, bring a copy of their school schedule and write down any costs associated with their care, education and needs. If you don’t have kids, you should bring an estimation of your own expenses, record of your income and any other relevant financial documents. Most importantly, you can prepare for your mediation by bringing an open mind and a willingness to listen to the other party
How do I find the right family law attorney for me?
It’s important to find a lawyer who will listen to you, be honest with you and advocate for you when it’s difficult to advocate for yourself. A good family law attorney will likely be knowledgeable, experienced and compassionate, but also diligent and tenacious. I have decades of experience representing individuals, both in mediation, collaborative law and more tumultuous family law issues.
Do You Have Other Questions? Contact Me For Answers.
I am ready and eager to help you get through this difficult time. I invite you to arrange a private consultation with me to determine whether mediation is the right approach for your situation.