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Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce Mediation

Divorce Mediation: A Healthy Alternative

How Mediation Works

While ending a marriage often involves significant emotional and financial costs that can have a devastating effect on families, Mediation offers a healthy and sensible alternative to a contentious litigated divorce.
Divorce Mediation is a voluntary family-centered process that allows both parties to actively negotiate with the guidance of a neutral mediation attorney, acceptable to all parties, who provides objective legal information and facilitates communication between the parties. Parties participate by their own free will and freely reach a settlement of their dispute. Mediation acknowledges that divorce is an emotional event as well as a legal one. The goal of the mediation is not only help the parties reconcile their present areas of controversy, but by identifying their interests, to look to the future and through an exchange of mutually acceptable promises that the parties feel meet their personal standards of fairness. As a result, mediation establishes a foundation for continued cooperation, and allows couples to craft their own post-divorce arrangements by fostering practical, individualized problem solving. In contrast, with litigation, in a mediation, all sides to the dispute have a greater opportunity to walk away as winners.

The Advantages of Mediation

  • It Costs Less

    • Mediation is often significantly less expensive than litigation. In divorce mediation, you meet together with one divorce mediator and you usually share the cost equally or in a way you and your spouse find appropriate.

  • Voluntary Process

    • Mediation is a voluntary process that is driven by the cooperation of parties who share a common goal to reach a mutually-beneficial settlement.

  • You Have Control

    • Couples control how quickly or slowly decisions are made, when divorce petition is filed, and what the terms of the divorce will be. Couples can make their own decisions regarding parenting plans, division of property and division of assets. Each step is by agreement, in contrast to the adversarial process in which attorneys set court dates and judges make decisions with limited time and information. In the adversarial method, there is more uncertainty about your future since you are giving up control of your future to a stranger: a 3rd party judge who has no knowledge about your families unique needs.

  • Easier on the Children

    • The worst aspect of a divorce for children is the conflict between the parents. Divorce is traumatic enough for children, but they do better when you work together to make adult decisions and do not put them in the middle.

    • Statistics show that its not that the act of divorce that is traumatic for children, but rather it is the hostility and bitterness that is created based on how parents handle the divorce.

  • Easier on You

    • The way your marriage ends will significantly affect the way you approach your future relationships. When you use a mediator to help communicate and make important decisions, it can be easier to move forward and accept the past, rather than turning hurt and anger into an expensive court battle for you and your spouse.

  • Builds on the Positive

    • In mediation, you are both encouraged to find common grounds for making agreements. The focus is on decisions about the future, not past behavior.

Mediation vs. Litigation

In traditional litigation, parties rely on lawyers to define their needs and expectations based on the lawyers' understanding and application of the law. Lawyers view it as a "game" where they try to gain more bargaining power by stalling free and open disclosure of finances. Divorce lawyers have two goals when helping a client through divorce: 1. Settling the Case and 2. Preparing for Trial. They prepare for both simultaneous which means added cost to the client. Even without going to trial, the traditional divorce process is inherently adversarial with both parties assuming positions and strategies advocated by their lawyers.

Mediation is an informal process where both parties meet in a safe setting where they both are in control and empowered to make their own decisions. Mediation reduces the tension and trauma of divorce, not increase it. This enables couples to achieve a sense of wholeness after the emotional and financial chaos of terminating their marriage. Mediation does not require each spouse to view the other as an adversary. Instead, the mediator helps the couple work together towards a common goal: finding the best way to separate. Hostile feelings are reduces so the couple can better adjust to the separation or divorce and plan to move forward.

The following chart lists the major differences between mediation and divorce litigation.




Flat Fee based on the hours of mediation sessions required.

Document Preparation:$2,100

Average total range: $2,600-$6,800 – Split between the couple

Average rate for each parties attorneys $250-$300/hr

Retainer between $3,500-$5,000 ( This is the minimum. Sky is the limit for divorce costs.

Average total: $7,000 and more PER person.

Time Involved

Average Time 3-6 months (Depends upon need and pace of the couple)

Average time 1-2 years (Depends upon court schedule)

Tone of Process

Cooperative and Informal

Adversarial and Formal

Role of Law

Make creative solutions not within constraints of the law. Legal Advice provided by counsel if you choose to retain one.

Legal advice given by counsel and solutions to problems can not deviate from the law.

Impact on Children

Children's interests are central to decision making process.

Children often become "pawns" in the battle between spouses.

Emotional Cost to Parties

Allows for healthy airing of diverse views and emotions
More comfortable, cooperative in less formal setting.

Allows for healthier interactions after dispute which is an important foundation for your ongoing relationship as parents to your children.

Increases anxiety, stress and competition

Little opportunity to address concerns

Difficult to communicate after divorce is final if you have an ongoing relationship as parents to your children.

Impact on Communication

Promotes improved communication.

Sets stage for joint decision making.

Encourages personal responsibility

Discourages communication.

Sets stage for future disagreements and possible court appearances

Decision Making

Clients make their own decisions. Clients are in control of what provisions they want in their settlement.

3rd parties (judges and attorneys) make decisions. Judgments are unpredictable.


Discussions and financial information are confidential

Usually no court appearances

Hearings are open to the public

Financial information is part of the public record

Several court appearances

Advantages of Law Offices of Tejal V. Patel

Attorney Tejal V. Patel is focused on successfully guiding clients through the process of divorce mediation, and ensuring that all involved parties can reach an agreeable outcome with minimal costs and time.
I have come to realize that our judicial system is ill equipped to help litigants resolve their divorce issues and that the system works against instead of with or for litigants. Divorce litigation is generally overly financially burdensome and overly emotionally devastating to the parties and their families. Our clients have personal problems that need resolution; litigation and resorting to the law and an adversarial system has not served divorcing couples well in helping to resolve those problems and issues. I strongly believe that Divorce Mediation is a far better mechanism for resolution of issues in a divorce than our adversarial legal system.

A Satisfying Resolution

I facilitate divorce mediations in an impartial environment founded on the highest values of integrity, trust, and openness. In joint sessions, I'll help you work together to determine a fair distribution of assets/liabilities and spousal support, and fairly resolve critical issues related to your children, including custody, parenting time, and child support. I'll prepare an unsigned, non-binding Memo of Understanding or the final Property Settlement Agreement that reflects your agreement. Your attorneys will either review the MOU and prepare your Property Settlement Agreement, or review the Property Settlement Agreement I draft. They will help you file your divorce and grant your uncontested divorce from the court. In the event you do not choose to get a review attorney, we will guide you as to where you can get information about filing for your divorce pro se.

Divorce Mediation Consultation

In divorce mediation, my role is to act as an impartial facilitator. Both you and your spouse will attend the free 1 hour consultation. Prior to the consultation, you will fill out and return a marital estate questionnaire so I can be prepared for our consultation. During the consultation, I'll give you more information about the divorce mediation process, gather some more information and you'll have the opportunity to ask questions. The consultation will help you confirm that mediation and my services are right for you.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

Serving the Philadelphia Region, King of Prussia, Plymouth Meeting, Radnor, Exton, Bala Cynwyd, South Jersey, and NYC Region.

Address: One Greentree Centre 10000 Lincoln Dr. East, Suite 201 Marlton, NJ 08053 Phone: (856) 988-5453