What Is Divorce Mediation?
Divorce mediation provides a forum where a divorcing couple, with the help of an impartial third party who is called a mediator, can engage in direct negotiations regarding the variety of decisions that must be made following the initial decision to divorce.
Mediation is a voluntary process. No settlement of the issue(s) in dispute occurs unless you both agree to the settlement.
Mediation is a confidential process.
As your mediator, I will not tell you what decisions to make. Rather, I will help you determine what issues need to be addressed and assist you in communicating with each other so you can explore possible solutions to the particular problems you encounter as you plan to live apart.
How Do We Know If We Should Mediate?
Some cases are not appropriate for mediation. Therefore, if you are interested in divorce mediation, I encourage you and your spouse to schedule an initial consultation with me.
Do We Need Attorneys?
Yes. Divorce mediation is not a substitute for legal advice. Ending a marriage involves potentially complicated legal issues. Upon deciding to divorce, you and your spouse may find that you have a number of competing and apparently conflicting interests. In order to understand and evaluate your options, it is helpful to have independent legal advice. As your mediator, I must remain impartial. Therefore, I can not provide legal advice to either you or your spouse. A successful mediation is more likely to occur when both parties are well informed about their legal rights. Consequently, I strongly encourage each of you to retain your own lawyer.
Are All Mediations The Same?
In all mediations, the mediator remains impartial throughout the process. However, there are many different models of mediation. In order to decide which mediation model will best suit your unique situation, you are encouraged to discuss your options with me and with your attorneys.
What Types of Issues Can Be Mediated?
Child custody and visitation
Division and possession of property acquired and debts incurred during the marriage
Post-divorce modifications of any of the issues listed above
What Does It Cost?
There is a $200 initial administrative fee that must be paid at the time you decide to engage my services. The cost of each session is then billed at an hourly rate of $200 per hour, and, unless there is an agreement to the contrary, each spouse is expected to pay for one-half of the cost of each session. Mediation fees are collected at the end of each mediation session. In addition to the time spent in the actual mediation sessions, participants are also charged for any time spent in telephone consultations or in the preparation of documents.
ABOUT THE MEDIATOR
A Durham native, Martha New Milam is a graduate of the Wake Forest University School of Law and a partner in the law firm of Milam & Idol, PLLC. An experienced Family Law attorney, Martha is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Family Law Specialist. She has received specific training in the area of Divorce Mediation, and is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission to conduct family financial mediations.
Please call Martha at (919) 401-5151 or E-mail her to learn more about mediation and to allow her to help you assess whether mediation is appropriate for you.