Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Mediation
Below are some of our clients’ most frequently asked questions about mediation. If you have additional questions, please contact our Hot Springs office at 501-566-1484 for the caring counsel you deserve.
During divorce mediation, parties in a dispute and their counsels work confidentially with a neutral mediator who assists in discussing concerns and interests before determining creative solutions to settle issues amicably and peacefully. During mediation, parties voluntarily engage in informal discussions in an effort to resolve disputes and find mutually fitting solutions.
Almost all disputes that parties have been unable to remedy can be resolved in mediation.
Yes. Arkansas law provides all communications, negotiations or settlement discussions, in the course of a mediation consultation, are confidential and are not admissible or subject to discovery in court.
Time factors depend on the number of issues, the distance apart the parties have with those issues, each party’s willingness to come to a conclusion, circumstances, temperaments, availability of information, capacities to articulate interests, and the document turn-around time for each side. A typical small party mediation will last three to four hours. Larger party complex cases can take a full day or more.
Mediation can occur at any time: before a suit is filed, during discovery, even after trial since the court has authority to require parties to mediate. In Arkansas, mediation is best held after discovery is completed so that all parties can make accurate and well-informed decisions in negotiating final resolutions.
Yes, almost all settlement agreements prepared and signed at mediation are legally binding because all parties agree to make it so once placed into enforceable written agreement. However, it does require at least initial agreement of the parties to be binding.
The biggest difference is that Arbitration is typically binding on all parties, and they are required to do what the Arbitrator decides absent an appeal. Arbitration usually works more like a court hearing and will be held before one or more Arbitrators. Mediation is less formal and has more flexibility in discussing specific concerns. In mediation, the parties determine what issues and solutions are acceptable, not the mediator whose job is to neutrally facilitate peaceful exchanges and negotiations. Arbitration is much less common in Arkansas than mediation.
A mediator is typically an attorney, but does not give legal advice. Lawyers are beneficial in mediation as they help ensure the agreement will translate to an enforceable document. Attorneys further assist by providing their clients with legal advice pertaining to their case.
Typically, costs will be split equally among the parties, unless otherwise agreed, or if applicable, paid directly to the responsible law firm as directed and agreed. There is also a State grant that pays the cost of the mediator if you qualify for one mediation when children are involved.
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