Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does it usually take to complete a mediated agreement?
the parties are in essential agreement about how they will continue to
parent their children, remaining issues of property division and
support, on average, take two to five two-hour sessions. But many
families are not "average". A great deal depends on the negotiating
style of the parties. After the first meeting, the mediator can often
make an assessment about the length of time that will be needed.
- What is the average cost?
is for the mediator's time, so here again variation is great. Bea V. Larsen
invites a cost-free telephone consultation at which time
the process can be fully explained and the likely expense addressed.
However, in every case the ultimate cost of mediation is far far less
than would otherwise be incurred if the adversarial process were
- Do we have to use lawyers?
is no legal requirement that an attorney be hired, but it is often
well advised that each party do so. However, careful selection of
counsel is of critical importance. Your mediator can provide the names
of lawyers who not only have significant expertise in the domestic
relations area, but who will foster the parties remaining in control,
and avoid the adversarial clash so many people fear. Sometimes an
initial consultation suffices. But for some, more frequent advice is
sought along the way. It is a very individual matter.
- What if my spouse knows a great deal about finance and I do not?
skilled mediator assures both parties that all decisions made will be
well-informed decisions. In other words, no decision is final until each
participant has had a full opportunity to review whatever documents
they may seek and to have whatever assistance they may need to interpret
the information that has been gathered.
- My spouse is a skilled negotiator and I am not? Is mediation a realistic option for me?
The mediator's most important role is to assure that the interests of
both parties are fully addressed and that both are fully heard. This is
often the most essential value of having a skilled neutral guiding the
process and guaranteeing an even playing field. And should the parties
choose to have their attorneys take part in the mediation sessions, that
- We can't agree about anything these days? How could we possibly mediate?
results speak for themselves. Many high conflict couples enter
mediation and find that in the safe setting of the mediator's office,
with the mediator in control of the process, a certain calm is
established which allows for useful discussions and eventual shared
- My spouse is an alcoholic? Can we mediate?
is generally ill advised if either participant is actively abusing
drugs or alcohol. Persons well established in recovery are successful.
- If we can agree about most things before we even come in to mediate, won't that speed things up?
yes. But participants are well advised to keep all decisions made on
their own tentative, until they begin mediation and fully grasp the big
picture of all issues that must be resolved. If firm decisions are made
before you even begin, and then with full information previously made
decisions are called into question, for some, this undermines trust. So,
if it is comfortable to do so, keep talking, but with the understanding
that final agreements will only be made once all issues are on the
table and fully explored.
plan to sell our house, but would really take a bath if we sold now?
Does that mean we have to postpone our divorce until we sell?
Your mediator can suggest options for you to consider in this
circumstance that will allow you to move forward even in today's
difficult housing market.
- We are in serious debt. Should we file for bankruptcy first?
simple answer here. These days significant debt issues must often be
fully explored and resolved before a couple divorce. Where indicated, an
attorney with bankruptcy expertise can become part of the mediation
process as a consultant, so that wise decisions can be made.
- Are other experts sometimes called upon?
it is not uncommon for real estate or business valuation appraisers to
be consulted. When an expert is jointly selected, there is far less
likelihood to end up with the "war of the appraisers", bringing wildly
divergent values to the table. Financial planners can often be of great
assistance, especially when designing the most tax saving way of
providing support. Less common, but when needed child psychologists can
help define and work through difficult parenting issues.
- I want to mediate but my spouse does not. Can I force him/her to take part?
Mediation is a voluntary process, but often suggesting that a reluctant
spouse talk with the mediator or explore our webpage, asmartdivorce.
org, will allay concerns. On the other hand, if a divorce has already
been granted, most shared patenting plans do require mediation before a
Court filing can be made.
- Should we hire lawyers before we begin mediation?
speaking, wait and get the mediator's advice about this. With a basic
understanding of the nature of the issues you are facing, sound
recommendations for counsel can be made and you can avoid hiring someone
who wakes up each morning just itching for a fight.
- Do I have to hire a mediator in the county where I live?
No. Bea V. Larsen assists couples living in the entire greater Cincinnati area including northern Kentucky.
- If I don't trust my spouse, how can I mediate?
is neither required nor expected when parties are in the midst of
ending an intimate relationship. In fact, it is the rare couple that is
fully trusting at times like these. Decisions are made in mediation only
after full information is gathered and documented to the extent needed.
The couple that successfully completes mediation, however, often finds
that trust can slowly be regained over time.