What is Sensible Divorce?
Sensible Divorce is a civil approach to the breakup of a marriage. Divorce is a very stressful time and can be made more stressful by engaging in an adversarial litigation process to settle marital affairs. We provide a holistic solution and help spouses file the Original Petition for Divorce, and walk spouses through all the issues that need to be addressed in order to obtain an uncontested divorce. Once spouses reach agreement, they sign a mediated settlement agreement. We then have a family law attorney we work with who will draft the divorce decree based on the agreements made during mediation. Spouses then take the mediated agreement and divorce decree and finalize their divorce at the court. Our goal is to reduce your stress and offer a high quality, affordable solution in an already emotionally difficulty situation.
Who and what is involved?
Sensible Divorce is different than a typical litigated marriage, in that it is a process whereby a divorcing couple can meet in the privacy of the office of a neutral person, called a mediator, who is experienced in the art of negotiation, to work out an amicable and fair settlement relative to the assets and liability of their marriage and the issues relevant to minor children.
We will give consideration to all options available to each party with respect to each issue so that the best and most informed decisions can be made. This insures the best possible outcome is achieved and minimizes the chance for hard feelings in spouses, which is extremely important for spouses who remain involved in one another’s lives because of children. During the divorce process, consensus must be reached in several major areas in order for the court to grant an uncontested divorce including but not limited to:
· Issues pertaining to children
· Division of Assets
· Division of Liabilities
· Spousal Support
We also work with other professionals, including CPA's and business attorneys who are knowledgeable in divorce, who are brought into the mediation if needed via phone or in person for specific questions in your marital estate. This team approach allows for an amicable discussion with professionals specific to your needs to settle your marital estate during the mediation. A collaborative approach can save you thousands of dollars and reduce animosity, which is very important when children are involved.
What are the Fees?
The average fee for a typical divorce using Sensible Divorce is around $2500.00. This includes the filing fee with the county court house, one 3 hour mediation, drafting of the Mediated Settlement Agreement and the attorney's fee to draft the decree.
The breakdown of the $2500.00 fee includes 1) Filing fee for county courthouse averages $300.00. 2) Mediation fee - the hourly rate for mediation is $200.00 per hour and mediations are usually scheduled in 3 hour blocks, so the fee for a full 3 hour mediation is $600.00. You are only billed for the time you use in mediation in 30 minute increments, so this can be less. Typically spouses are able to come to agreement on all issues in one mediation, but some take more. 3) Cost for writing the Mediated Settlement Agreement after the parties have agreed to all terms, is a flat fee of $400.00 and will be charged before the Mediated Settlement Agreement is written 4) Attorney's fee to draft the decree is typically around $1200.00.
Mediation is a very cost effective way to bring spouses together to work out solutions as opposed to going through costly discovery and legal fees. Spouses sit down and work out solutions together instead of attorneys going back and forth charging thousands of dollars. There may be additional fees for professionals brought into the mediation via phone or video conferencing.
Payment plans for mediations are available for clients who are finding it difficulty to pay.
Is Sensible Divorce right for me and my spouse?
Spouses must be able to sit civilly in the same room with the mediator and to civilly discuss relevant issues that must ultimately be agreed upon. Spouses do not have to like one another, but they must be capable of conducting themselves civilly. Mediation is the best possible choice for the vast majority of couples because of the numerous benefits over lengthy and costly litigation.
What are the benefits of Sensible Divorce?
Divorce mediation can be more successful than divorce litigation in which spouses hire separate attorneys and fight in court about who gets what. Divorce mediation is less stressful than traditional divorce litigation, creating less animosity between spouses and enabling them to exercise better judgment and make better decisions. The control over the divorce process is placed directly in the hands of the divorcing spouses rather than in the hands of judges who know little about the parties. Divorce mediation can also save thousands of dollars because spouses bring relevant information to the mediation (including income statements, etc) and work out issues during the mediation, which can take many hours of attorney's time and cost thousands of dollars outside of mediation.
Does Sensible Divorce involve attorneys?
Typically, our clients are not represented by separate attorneys (this is known as pro se), but some spouses choose to have an outside attorney review the Mediated Settlement Agreement before they sign. This decision is up to each party.
What if one party is out of town or unable to come?
Sensible Divorce offers HD video conferencing and can bring multiple parties from different places into the conference room. The party absent will either use their phone or computer to access the video conferencing service to join the other parties in the conference room via TV.