The CFL Mediation Practice

Questions and Answers

What is mediation? 

Mediation is a process in which disputing parties meet with a neutral third party, a mediator. The mediator will assist the parties in resolving their differences through negotiation.

Why should I use CFL Mediation?

We have built numerous relationships with top mediators in your area and have negotiated heavily discounted rates with those highly qualified, certified mediators. This allows us to pass those savings on to you as a client rather than you paying the mediator directly.

What Happens in Mediation? 

At the mediation, the parties will sit down with the mediator in private and explain the problem as they see it and how they think the matter could be resolved. The mediator oversees the discussion to allow each party a full opportunity to be heard in an atmosphere of cooperation and respect. The parties are encouraged to generate solutions with both parties' interests in mind.

What is the role of a trained mediator? 

Throughout the mediation process, the mediator remains a neutral party. This means that the mediator is not acting as advocate, judge, or jury. Rather, the mediator's purpose is to assist the parties in identifying and clarifying the issues that must be resolved. He or she will help to develop a constructive dialogue that examines each issue with a focus on the parties' needs, interests, and priorities.

The mediator will not decide if either party is "right" or "wrong." The mediator will not force any party to accept a settlement that is not agreeable to everyone. The mediator cannot give legal advise.

Will I need an attorney? 

That is up to you. At the beginning of the mediation process, each party is advised to hire independent counsel to advise and consult with throughout the mediation process. The number of hours each party's attorney spends as a consultant is usually significantly less than would have been spent during adversarial negotiations or court proceedings. A party may have an attorney or support person accompany him or her to the mediation but a party is not required to bring someone with them.

At the end of the mediation, if the parties have settled on the terms for a separation agreement, the mediator drafts the agreement. Each party then has his or her attorney review the agreement.

If we cannot communicate with each other, how will we be able to communicate through the divorce mediation process? 

The divorce mediator is specifically trained to help couples with communication problems.

By choosing mediation, do I give up any rights that I or my children may be entitled to? 

No. Divorce mediation is an alternative to adversarial proceedings or negotiations. All issues that would normally be addressed in adversarial proceedings or negotiations (child and spousal support, parenting arrangements, division of marital assets, tax implications) are discussed by the parties. Neither party should need to relinquish any of his or her entitlements, but instead of litigating issues, you and your spouse privately work through your differences with the goal of reaching an agreement that will best serve your present and future needs.

Can I withdraw from mediation if I am unhappy with the results? 

Yes. Mediation is a voluntary process. This means that both parties must be willing participants. If you are not happy with the progress of the mediation, either one of you can withdraw at any time.

How does mediation address power imbalances between spouses? 

Not all couples are suited for divorce mediation. For a mediation to be successful, both parties must make their voices heard. In situations where there are serious power imbalances between spouses, divorce mediation may not be appropriate. At the initial session as well as during the course of the mediation, the trained mediator together with the parties will assess the suitability of the couple for mediation.

Also true is that the process itself can be an empowering one and that a spouse who at first may perceive himself or herself at a disadvantage actually develops or discovers strong bargaining skills.

Are there situations when divorce mediation is not recommended? 

Yes. Divorce mediation is not appropriate for all couples. For example, divorce mediation is not recommended in situations involving domestic violence. It is also not appropriate when one spouse overpowers the other or refuses to participate honestly. In addition, if one spouse refuses to divulge all financial information or fails to cooperate with the mediator's guidelines, mediation is not appropriate.

What are the benefits of divorce mediation

Through divorce mediation, you and your spouse privately work through your differences and make decisions about your present and future needs. Generally, this process facilitates communication, promotes cooperation, reduces tension, and makes the inevitable separation easier. Divorce mediation is also a cost-effective alternative to traditional divorce litigation.

How long does divorce mediation take? 

Sessions usually last one to two hours. The number of sessions varies depending on the complexity of the issues and the needs of the parties. Successful mediations usually take from three to 10 sessions.

How much does it cost? 

The parties are charged on an hourly basis but we also offer a discounted package rate too.

Do I have to worry that what I may say during mediation may be used against me later? 

In most cases, statements made during the mediation cannot be used as evidence in any subsequent trial. However, for example, Under Ohio law, with certain exceptions, mediation communications are confidential to the extent agreed to by the parties (O.R.C. §2710.01). Ohio law also provides that parties and mediators are protected from having to testify about a mediation communication in a subsequent legal proceeding, again with some exceptions such as communications about threats of harm, crimes and child or elder abuse (O.R.C. §2710.05).