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Divorce 101: Settlement Negotiations and Mediation

On Behalf of | Jan 21, 2015 | Firm News

What are settlement negotiations?

In the context of divorce, settlement negotiations are attempts between parties to settle their case. If the parties have attorneys, the settlement negotiations are typically done between the attorneys (or the attorney and a non-represented spouse if one of the spouses does not hire an attorney). If settlement negotiations are successful, a settlement agreement is entered and sent to the Court for approval. Successful settlement negotiations allow parties to forego going to court.

What is mediation?

Mediation is a form of settlement negotiations with the added assistance of a trained mediator. For mediation, the parties typically meet at one office where the mediator goes back and forth between the parties to attempt to hash out a settlement agreement. Due to health concerns, mediations can now be virtual as well. Again, if successful, the mediation will result in a signed settlement agreement that is sent to the Court for approval and will allow the parties to avoid attending Court.

What does mediation cost?

Most mediators require each party to commit to paying one-half the cost of the mediator’s fees. The mediator bills on an hourly basis and, much like attorneys, hourly rates vary from mediator to mediator. During mediation, the parties can agree on an alternative arrangement for paying for the mediator. If you have an attorney, you will also have the added cost of paying your attorney’s hourly rate during the mediation.

Does mediation work?

In the experience of the attorneys at Cairns Rabiola Vance, mediation is often very successful. It allows parties to have a hand in crafting their own arrangement instead of leaving their divorce issues up to a judge.

Are settlement negotiations and mediation confidential?

Settlement negotiations are not confidential if done outside the confines of mediation. However, there is an Indiana trial rule that prohibits settlement negotiations from being admitted before the court.

Mediation, on the other hand, is a confidential process. If mediation is unsuccessful, the opposing party cannot use the mediation against you. This means that you have the freedom at mediation to make an offer without worrying that the offer may be held against you later.

If you would like to speak with an attorney, call us today at 317-953-2182 or complete our contact form and we’ll respond within one business day.