How Long Does Divorce Mediation Take?

Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman, LLC. – Philadelphia Divorce Lawyers

Once you’ve decided to divorce, you want it over quickly. You’ve heard divorce mediation is quicker and less expensive than divorce litigation, but how much quicker? How much less expensive?  

The Philadelphia divorce mediation lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman explain in this helpful article. Find out how to make the most of your divorce mediation and what factors delay results.

If you are considering divorce mediation, call us. We have over forty years of experience helping families in the Philadelphia area through divorce. We can help your family too.

What is Divorce Mediation?

Divorce mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution providing a way to resolve conflict outside of family court. The parties negotiate with the help of a neutral third party, the mediator, and settle matters such as child custody, child support, alimony, and property distribution.

How Long Does Divorce Mediation Typically Take?

Divorce mediation takes only a few sessions, depending on the number and complexity of the issues you have to negotiate and resolve. Divorce mediation can take more sessions if the issues are complex or the parties are having difficulty coming to an agreement. 

Divorce Mediation vs. Litigation

Every divorce is different. Issues arising from the child custody schedule, the amount of support and whether support is to be paid, and division of property can take time to unpack, discuss, and resolve. For this reason, one cannot expect to know how many sessions it takes to resolve all issues arising from a divorce. What one can expect to know is mediation generally is quicker than litigation, is usually far less expensive, and is collaborative – meaning, the parties learn to communicate and negotiate with one another. These are skills they can use going forward in co-parenting their children and in communicating with each other.

Parties seeking to mediate the issues arising from their divorce are taking charge of their lives going forward. Instead of a family law judge handing down a custody schedule, a support order, or dividing their property for them, they are determining what arrangements are best for their family, in privacy and without the interference or direction of the court.

How Long is a Divorce Mediation Session?

Your mediator recommends the length of the session, which typically lasts one or two hours. You will know well in advance how long your session will be.

Factors That Cause Divorce Mediation to Take Longer

The more issues to resolve and the more complex those issues are, the longer divorce mediation takes. Mediation  is equally effective in these cases, however it often takes longer to understand, discuss, and agree on the resolution of complex issues. 

Divorce mediation is more beneficial than litigation for families with complex issues to resolve, because the parties understand and come to an agreement on how their family will function going forward.

1. Matters Related to Children

If the parties have children, they must come to an agreement on how they co-parent those children. Establishing a custodial schedule is a common issue to resolve. Custody schedules need to be discussed and resolved. Determining what is best for your children takes serious discussion to resolve.

2. Alimony

Spousal support and alimony, are commonly-mediated divorce issues. A mediator looks at the finances of each party, the norms for that jurisdiction, and helps the parties arrive at a support or alimony amount.  Spousal support or alimony pendente lite (“APL”) is paid between separation and divorce; alimony can be paid after divorce, in the appropriate case. 

3. Complex Financial Situations

When the parties own a family business, significant investments, or it is otherwise a high asset divorce, mediating solutions to the issues arising from divorce just makes sense. 

First, depending upon the circumstances, the mediator may seek the help of a forensic accountant  and an appraiser to unravel the family’s financial situation and value their  property, so the parties have a full and accurate picture. Then, with the help of their mediator, the parties negotiate possible outcomes considering their needs as well as the needs of other stakeholders in the parties’ decision, such as other family members, and business partners.

Finding a Divorce Mediation Lawyer

You must feel comfortable talking with your mediator and confident they have the skill and experience to help you resolve the issues arising from your divorce. Divorce is deeply personal and often difficult for the parties, but it does not have to be contentious, drawn out, or expensive. Instead, you can commit to sitting down with a neutral third party professional, working things out yourselves, and getting the best result for your family, much more quickly than if you went to court.

The experienced divorce mediation lawyers at Schwartz, Fox & Saltzman are ready to help your family through your divorce. Call us at 215-967-9070 to discuss your case.

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