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In this article we discuss the process of divorce mediation in Wisconsin. We address common questions such as: What Is Divorce Mediation in Wisconsin?, Is Mediation Right For Me?, Is Divorce Mediation Legally Binding In Wisconsin?, Should I Get A Lawyer For Divorce Mediation In Wisconsin?, and What Does Divorce Mediation Cost In Wisconsin?  

In this article we discuss the process of divorce mediation in Wisconsin. We address common questions such as:

  • What Is Divorce Mediation in Wisconsin?  
  • Is Mediation Right For Me?  
  • Is Divorce Mediation Legally Binding In Wisconsin?
  • Should I Get A Lawyer For Divorce Mediation In Wisconsin?  
  • What Does Divorce Mediation Cost In Wisconsin?  

What Is Divorce Mediation In Wisconsin?

Divorce mediation is an alternative dispute resolution, or an alternative to the traditional litigation of divorce trials. In other words, a divorce mediation is an opportunity for parties in a divorce proceeding to reach an agreement in their case without litigating (or arguing) the issues in court.  

During this mediation process, a neutral third party, a mediator, meets with both parties in an attempt to foster a resolution of the issues in the divorce case. For some cases, this only involves distribution of property, assets and debts. For others, this also includes issues of child custody and visitation. Whatever the issues, mediation gives the parties a chance to decide what is best for their children and how to best divide their property, debts, retirement accounts, etc.  

Mediation offers the chance to reach an agreement, but no agreement is required. If mediation is unsuccessful and the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the judge will have to make the decisions for you.  

Is Mediation Right For Me?

Mediation is an excellent option for parties who want to have an amicable and efficient divorce, and already agree on many of the issues in the case, or at least want to try to reach an agreement. It is great for parties who want to resolve the details of their own divorce as opposed to having a judge make the decisions.  

Mediation is also a great option because everything said in a mediation is confidential. No information discovered during the mediation may be brought up in court. This further facilitates the open discussion necessary to reach an agreement on important divorce issues.  

Is Divorce Mediation Legally Binding In Wisconsin?

Agreements reached during mediation will be submitted to the court for approval. Once approved, they take the same effect as if the judge made the decision themselves. Therefore, yes, written agreements signed at the conclusion of a mediation are legally binding.  

However, you are not required to agree to anything to during mediation. You can agree to all of the issues in your divorce at mediation, some of the issues or none of the issues. Any agreements that you and your soon-to-be ex make must be entered into voluntarily.  

Should I Get A Lawyer For Divorce Mediation In Wisconsin?

The mediator, though an attorney, will explain that they are not acting as an attorney to either party, and will not offer legal advice to either party. They may only provide legal information to each party to the extent necessary for each party to make an informed decision. Thus, each party is encouraged to seek the advice of their own attorney at any point during the mediation process, especially before signing any written agreements.  

Parties are, however, not required to consult legal representation during this process and may represent themselves. If a party chooses to pursue individual legal representation at any point during the mediation process, the other party must be notified.

What Does Divorce Mediation Cost In Wisconsin?

The total cost of mediation depends on the experience of the mediator and the complexity of the issues. Mediators often charge hourly rates for mediation. Plus, there are often court filing fees and fees for action taken post-divorce decree, such as splitting assets as required by the decree. Depending on the mediator, parties can expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 for a mediator, sometimes more for more complex cases.  

Despite the costs, mediation is often much more affordable than litigating the issues in court.  

Divorce can be a very complicated process. Mediation is an affordable alternative to the traditional litigation of issues in court, and offers the parties a chance to reach an agreement that works for them, instead of waiting for a judge to make the decisions. If you would like to speak with an experienced attorney about mediation in Wisconsin, call our office at (630) 324-6666 or Schedule a Consultation at O'Flaherty Law.  

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