What is mediation?

Mediation discussions involve you, your spouse, and the mediator. Mediation can last one session to several sessions lasting a few weeks. The time depends on the issues and level of agreement. Those issues typically include:

  • Parenting time
  • Child support
  • Division of assets and debts
  • Spousal support

The Role of the Mediator

Your mediator serves as a neutral party to help you and your spouse reach common ground to avoid a contested divorce. Mediators:

  • Manage communication between parties so all voices are heard
  • Provide legal information about the divorce process
  • Enable you and your spouse to access the information needed to make sound decisions
  • Identify alternatives to resolution, looking for areas of compromise
  • Focus on finding the best resolutions for all parties
  • Provide realistic assessments to create paths forward

Rules of Engagement

  • All discussions in mediation are confidential. If mediation does not settle your dispute and you and your spouse choose to litigate, mediators cannot testify and offers cannot be disclosed.
  • Mediators do not offer legal advice to either party. They are acting as a neutral party. During mediation, you are free to consult with your attorney at any time. Your attorney may also attend mediation sessions with you.

Q & A

Q: What is Mediation?

A: Mediation is where both parties meet with a neutral third party mediator to resolve matters. Parties may be represented by counsel, or they may be on their own. The mediator may offer suggestions to help resolve matters, and they will help facilitate a discussion between the parties about the issues. The mediator does not offer legal advice, so if you are unsure about how the law would treat a supposed agreement in mediation, it is best to have counsel with you.

Q: How much does Mediation cost?

A: A court can order mediation through court personnel, which is at no cost.  You can also choose private mediation.  The cost of private mediation depends on the mediator.

Q: What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

A: In arbitration, the arbitrator will decide matters in the case in a process known as binding arbitration. In mediation, the mediator does not make decisions, and if an agreement is not reached, then the parties are in the same position they were in before they started.

Q: Do I have to settle my case in Mediation?

A: No. In mediation, you can agree to as little, or as much as possible.

Q: Can the Mediator make decisions for us?

A: No. Only an arbitrator or judge will have the power to make decisions. A mediator will only be able to help you by facilitating discussions, and offering suggestions, but, they cannot make any binding decisions.

Q: Do I have to mediate my case?

A: Most likely. In Arizona, court order and schedule mediations prior to trial.

Q: Why should I mediate my case?

A: Besides that it is very likely required by the Court, mediation can be a great way to solve little problems, so that you can focus only on the big ones.