Many people assume that to finalize a divorce, you must go through lengthy (and expensive) litigation. That’s not true. There are a number of options for cooperative parties seeking divorce, including mediation. To help you better understand this option, the lawyers at Cortez & Hoskovec, LLC have compiled the most common questions about mediation.
Mediation is an alternative to divorce litigation. During mediation, you and the other party meet in an informal setting with a certified mediator, a neutral third party, who will facilitate conversations that help you work towards an agreement. The mediator is trained in conflict-resolution and will use the strategies and techniques to help conversations stay focused and emotions under control.
In New Mexico, parties do not need a lawyer for divorce or mediation. However, it is always advisable to have an experienced attorney, even during mediation. An Albuquerque family law attorney will help you objectively evaluate the long-term consequences of proposed solutions and keep you informed of your rights under New Mexico divorce laws.
If you do not have an attorney during mediation, you should have one review the Marital Settlement Agreement drafted as a result of mediation before signing it.
Mediators are often experienced divorce lawyers. However, divorce mediators do not have to be lawyers. In order to provide mediation services, both parties must agree on the mediator, and generally the cost of mediation services is evenly split between the parties, but when there is a substantial disparity in incomes between the parties, evenly sharing the cost of mediation could cause financial hardship to one party and not the other.
No. A mediator is a neutral third party. To serve as both mediator and individual counsel for one party is a conflict of interest.
The cost of mediation services varies among mediators. However, compared to the cost of litigation, mediation is almost always significantly less expensive. Every case is different, so the cost of mediation will be proportional to the amount of work required to reach an agreement. Perhaps you and the other side have reached a substantial number of agreements and only need to mediate a small number of remaining issues. On the other hand, you may have reached no agreements and really have no idea where to begin. We can be of assistance in either circumstance, and we will be happy to discuss the costs and fees associated with you unique situation at you initial consultation.
Ideally, parties who complete the mediation process reach a mutually acceptable agreement about how property will be divided, children’s time shared, etc. However, sometimes disputes cannot be adequately resolved through mediation. Agreements created through mediation are not legally binding until both parties have signed. If you are unsatisfied with the terms, you may refuse to sign and pursue a more favorable outcome through divorce litigation.
The attorneys at Cortez & Hoskovec, LLC in Albuquerque, NM are uniquely qualified to provide mediation services and/or individual counsel. Michelle Cortez and William Hoskovec are both experienced mediators and have nearly 25 years of combined experience helping clients through uncontested and contested divorces. They are committed to helping clients resolve disputes in the most efficient, time- and cost-effective way possible.
If you have additional questions about mediation or need an experienced divorce attorney, please contact us to schedule a consultation.