Divorce Mediation in Wisconsin
What is divorce mediation? | What is the divorce mediation process? | What are the benefits of divorce mediation? | What is the cost of divorce mediation?
Divorce Mediation vs Divorce Litigation | Alternatives to Mediation | Divorce Mediation Checklist
What is Divorce Mediation?
When two people begin the process of getting a divorce in Wisconsin, they can elect (but sometimes don’t have the choice) one of two ways of working together in order to ensure an equitable resolution to their divorce — mediation or litigation.
Divorce mediation is extending an invitation to an entirely neutral, objective third party to informally, yet confidentially, help two spouses reach a mutually beneficial divorce agreement without having to enter a courtroom. It’s typically less stressful and less expensive for both parties involved.
What is the divorce mediation process?
Depending on the complexity of your divorce and your schedule’s flexibility, mediation can take anywhere from three to five days to three to five months and requires multiple sessions between you, your spouse and your mediator.
The mediation process typically flows as follows:
- 1. An introductory meeting will be held to review mediation protocol and each spouse’s goals.
- 2. The spouses will provide a brief that describes all pertinent information required for settlement.
- 3. Both spouses will enter negotiation sessions with the mediator and work towards a final marital settlement agreement. In some cases, this time is used for negotiations, to brainstorm alternative solutions and to address any outlying concerns.
- 4. A final settlement agreement is drafted by our experienced mediators, signed by the parties, and forwarded to the Court.
What are the benefits of divorce mediation?
In divorce mediation, both partners voluntarily elect to work together outside of the courtroom, which helps:
- foster a more collaborative, hands-on approach
- create a win-win divorce agreement that is mutually beneficial for each party (may not otherwise be available in a litigation context).
- speed up the process (mediation is typically much faster than litigation since it takes place away from court records)
- decrease cost (a lot of the emotional conflict and finger-pointing that would result in a more expensive, drawn-out trial is prevented)
But remember, when and whether the case resolves is directly influenced by your ability to quickly provide accurate, detailed and complete documentation to your mediator. Mediation efficiency and success is also dependent on how cooperative and compromising you and your spouse are able and willing to be.
Over 95% Success Rate: Karp & Iancu successfully settles over 95% of mediation cases without the necessity for either of the two spousal parties to hire their own lawyers—learn how.
Divorce Mediation vs Divorce Litigation
Litigation, in its simplest terms, is the process of taking legal action.
Divorce litigation means that two spouses cannot find agreement outside of the court to reach equitable settlement terms. The parties engage in a series of court-processes resulting in settlement or a trial.
The litigation process can be grueling, impersonal and draining for a lot of people, not only due to the long waiting periods consequential to trials (can sometimes be months), but because the life you’ve worked hard to build is being broken down before a judge that has never met you but is making a decision about how often and on what terms you see your children and how your money will be used. Not to mention, anytime a case is tried before a judge, your lawyer fees and other divorce expenses increase dramatically.
What is the cost of divorce mediation?
Mediation can be less costly than litigation. Although cost will vary based on your needs, the starting price for mediation services at Karp & Iancu is $1,799 per spouse.
Choose the Divorce Process That’s Right For You
When deciding on what approach to take to your divorce, you have options:
Get a free, no-obligation mediation consultation and price quote to help uncover the most competitive, affordable flat fee or hourly rate specific to your mediation needs.
Alternatives to Mediation Usually Involve Litigation
- Option 1: DIY Divorce – Learn about how DIY divorce can make every stage of your divorce affordable, amicable and quick.
- Option 2: Uncontested Divorce – If you have no material issues to dispute and are able to resolve where your kids are going to live, how much child support will be owed and how you plan to divide your assets and debts, explore uncontested divorce options.
- Option 3: Contested Divorce – For issues that you and your spouse cannot agree on, check contested divorce as an alternative to help you reach a divorce solution.
Still unsure about where to start?
Book a free consultation with a Karp & Iancu family law attorney or mediator.
Divorce Mediation Checklist
Step 1: Choose the right mediator
There are certain qualifications to look for when choosing a mediator for your divorce including:
- The mediator is a seasoned family law attorney or a lawyer that specializes in divorce law
- The mediator is trusted by the courts
- The mediator doesn’t have biased interests in representing one party over the other, and is rather, an impartial problem-solver helping you and your spouse make decisions together about important issues
- The mediator is experienced in guiding a time efficient, cost-effective mediation process
- The mediator can provide expert insights about your judge, your local court, and what you might expect from the litigation process should you not reach an agreement during mediation
- The mediator helps you understand and implement your post-divorce rights and responsibilities
- The mediator understands the importance of following up with you to ensure the divorce is finalized on your agreed upon terms after they’ve drafted your negotiated statement and forwarded it to the court for approval.
It’s important to note that a mediator cannot give you legal advice, make decisions for you, or impose orders like a judge would. They merely help bridge communication, resolve misunderstandings, and brainstorm solutions.
Step 2: Gather the right documentation ahead of time.
After starting the mediation process, the mediator may ask for some or all of the following. Make sure you collect and organize your financial information to make the mediation process as efficient as possible:
- Monthly Income & Expenses (in list or spreadsheet form)
- Tax Returns
- Pay Stubs
- Checking & Savings Account Statements
- Credit Card Statements
- Loan Statements
- Will(s) & Trust(s)
- Life Insurance Policy & Premium
- Pension Plan(s) Documentation
- Retirement Account(s) Documentation
- Social Security Earnings Statement (Form SSA-7005-SM-SI)
Step 3: Outline a proposal agreement
Although we recommend solidifying each party’s divorce requirements in an electronic document ahead of time, don’t feel the need to define every last detail surrounding the division of your assets, child custody, child support or alimony. As long as you have a general understanding of how you and your spouse want to tackle the important issues, you’ll help speed the mediation process along.
While a completed proposal agreement isn’t necessary before you enter conversation with your mediator, make sure that you write down a list of everything that is important to you to make sure nothing is overlooked when it comes down to finalizing the agreement.
Step 4: Be civil.
Remember that the end goal is a mutually beneficial compromise. To make sure you avoid showing up to your mediation session with a reactive, rash attitude, get proper rest and exercise to stay mentally healthy.