You are not required to have an attorney in order to mediate. However, you are encouraged to consult with an attorney of your choice if you have any legal questions or desire legal advice. The mediator does not provide legal advice to either party.
If you are represented by an attorney, our office must communicate directly with your attorney.
If mediation is successful, an attorney can assist in having the mediated agreement submitted to the Family Court for approval and incorporation into a Court Order. Typically, the costs will be drastically less than having an attorney represent you in a contested action. You may also wish to consult with an attorney after mediation but prior to finalizing your agreement.
Is mediation right for me?
Mediation can be an excellent choice in most Family Court cases (and may be mandatory if you have a pending case that has not settled within a certain time frame). Mediation may not be appropriate (or may need to be revisited at later date) for emergencies or in cases with ongoing physical abuse. You are encouraged to seek immediate protection and legal advice before entering into any type of negotiations with a physically abusive partner.
Mediation can be helpful for people dealing with:
Custody and visitation
Modifications of prior Court Orders
Decision-making (regarding children)
Use of property
Temporary issues (to be followed by a second mediation to resolve long-term issues)
How much does it cost?
We charge an hourly fee for time spent preparing and mediating, which is usually shared equally by the parties. However, unless there is a Court Order stating how mediation fees are to be paid, splitting the fees is not required. Prior to mediation, the mediator will require a deposit intended to cover the scheduled time (full or half-day).
Although the entire divorce process usually involves the services of both a divorce mediator and an attorney or attorneys, the cost of a mediated divorce is typically a fraction of the cost of a Court litigated divorce. Mediated divorce can also be quicker and more amicable than traditional Family Court litigation. The bottom line: divorce mediation can save you significant time, stress, and money.
The more prepared you are, the less time mediation usually takes. This means that you can lower your overall costs by carefully following the pre-mediation instructions your Summerville mediator will provide and gathering all relevant information requested prior to mediation (such as prior Orders, bank and credit card statements, proof of income, etc.)