Are you interested in hiring an attorney to represent you in your divorce, child custody, or financial support matter, but fear lengthy and expensive litigation through the courts? Do you feel as though you and your spouse both have a good understanding of your incomes, assets, and debts? Are you and your spouse capable of effectively communicating but need guidance in resolving issues such as property division, child custody, child relocation, child and/or spousal support, alimony or modifications to existing court orders? If so, perhaps divorce mediation is the solution for you.
At Sadek and Cooper, we understand that family law issues do not need to be litigious, hostile or costly. That is why we provide alternative dispute resolution services as an option for clients looking to work together with their significant other in a peaceful, cost-effective and creative manner. In our mediation practice Sadek and Cooper attorneys act as neutral third party who addresses the parties’ respective concerns and provides insight as to how a judge would view the matter and likely rule if the matter was heard in court. We at Sadek and Cooper have settled thousands of divorce and custody cases and we want to help you settle yours.
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How Can Sadek & Cooper Legal Offices Help You?
The goal of our mediation services is to achieve workable solutions to complex issues that leaves both parties happy in an efficient process. We can help you resolve issues of child custody, child and spousal support, and a fair division of your marital property. If both parties are committed to the mediation process, you will save thousands of dollars and many hours of your life when compared to the process of adversarial litigation through the court system. Long delays in scheduling of hearings and uncertain outcomes make litigation through the court system less than optimal for many separating couples.
Imagine being able to control the scheduling of your divorce or custody resolution efforts. No spending months waiting for court hearings. No drawn out appeals process or frustratingly unnecessary legal expenses. No holidays ruined by confusion regarding your judicial custody order.
If you think your situation may be suitable for mediation please contact our office today at 215-545-0008 for an initial consultation. We will schedule an hour-long meeting with our attorneys for you and your spouse to attend together.
How are the mediators at Sadek and Cooper in a position to help my family through this extraordinarily difficult time of our lives?
We have decades of combined experience representing thousands of clients as they navigate extremely difficult circumstances. We know the law. We know the court system. We are in a unique position to educate you about your situation and the likely outcomes for both parties and we at Sadek and Cooper actually want to help you keep the process efficient and civil.
Would Sadek and Cooper represent both me and my spouse?
No, as divorce mediators, we would not represent the legal interests of either spouse. Instead, we will help you gather and organize the relevant information and documents, conduct mediation sessions to explain the process and to help guide your productive discussions and negotiations to reach a final resolution by way of Memorandum of Understanding, Settlement Agreement or other stipulation that you can both accept and move forward with your lives.
Who will conduct our mediation?
Why is mediation sometimes preferred to litigation?
Anyone reading this almost certainly has a friend or family member who has gone through a divorce or child custody dispute. If you have discussed their situation with them, it is likely that their complaints about the process included the following: “it was drawn out for too long,” “it was too expensive,” “my ex switched lawyers halfway through the case and it delayed things,” “the Judge did not want to listen to what I had to say,” “our relationship got worse once the court got involved,” “our hearing was postponed and there was nothing we could do about it.”
If none of the above complaints sound familiar then chances are that your friend or family member had a good working relationship with his or her former spouse and a great attorney. In most cases, though, mediation is more efficient and healthier emotionally for everyone involved.
How will mediation be better for my family?
Most experts will agree that the best possible outcome for you, your spouse, and most importantly any children involved, is that the parties reach an agreement that represents a compromise with an emphasis on maintaining a health co-parenting relationship. The financial conflicts of divorce and the inherent adversarial nature of child custody litigation can bleed together until your children cannot help but be negatively impacted by the process. We hope to help you avoid this and to move forward efficiently and in a civil fashion.
Is mediation binding?
No, in most cases it is not. You may wish to explore binding arbitration of you are interested in a final resolution without court involvement but mediation is done with the goal of reaching an agreement. If you and your spouse reach an agreement then your case will be ready to finalize based on that agreement. Sadek and Cooper will help you refine the terms of your agreement and produce a “memorandum of understanding” that will specify the terms of your agreement. If your mediation is unsuccessful, you still have the right to seek court intervention at any time.
When would mediation be a less than ideal fit?
If you do not feel as though your spouse has been honest with you about your marital assets or debts then mediation may not be the best fit for you. Sadek and Cooper can still help you but we would probably recommend that you retain us as your separate counsel so that we can force your spouse to produce all relevant documents and information regarding your marital assets and debts.
Similarly, if you have been the victim of physical or emotional abuse then mediation may not be a good fit for you. Sadek and Cooper can still help you but we would probably recommend that you retain us as your separate counsel so that the power imbalance does not frustrate the purposes of mediation and result in you agreeing to something less than a fair division of property or child custody order.
If your case involves a legal issue that is highly disputed then mediation may not be the best fit for you. If you and your spouse have a fundamental disagreement about at least one aspect of your case that you are not confident that we can help you resolve then a court’s intervention may be necessary. Sadek and Cooper will still be able to help you but it will most likely be necessary for you retain us as your separate counsel.
What is the process of mediation?
The first step is for you to ask your spouse if they are interested in mediation. If the answer is yes, then you should determine your availability as a couple and then contact us to schedule an initial consultation. We do charge a small consultation fee but that would be applied to your retainer fee if you hire us to mediate your matter. In preparation for the mediation, we will provide you with a list of documents and information to gather. The more prepared you are, the smoother the process will go. Once you have retained the firm, we will schedule your first mediation session. You, your spouse, and two attorneys will all be present for your first session. The goal of the first session is to identify all issues, disclose all relevant information, and for us to educate you about the process. Depending on how much time this takes, additional sessions will most likely be necessary. Ultimately, once we have helped you to reach an agreement, we will help you navigate the process of finalizing your case through the court.
How does the cost of mediation compare to the cost of litigation?
If done efficiently and with both parties participating in good faith then mediation should be at least half the overall cost of litigation in the same matter. At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, think about hiring two separate law firms in a litigated case vs. hiring only one law firm to handle your mediation. Of course, cooperating and hiring one mediator can save you both money.
Who pays the costs of mediation?
This depends on your financial situation and what you and your spouse may agree upon. Sometimes the higher earning spouse pays the entire cost. Sometimes the spouses share the cost equally. Other times the spouses share the cost in an agreed upon manner. One popular option is that the cost of mediation should be paid from marital funds and prior to any division of property. No matter how the cost is divided, if done correctly mediation will reduce the overall cost of your divorce or child custody matter.
Can I still hire my own attorney if my spouse and I mediate?
Yes, you can still use a separate attorney if you wish. You can have the attorney accompany you to mediation sessions. Your spouse can do this as well. One drawback to this is the cost but there are also possible benefits such as having someone advocating for you. It is extremely case dependent on whether this approach will lead to a settlement. You can also attend the mediation sessions without your lawyer but still consult with your lawyer in between sessions and in preparation for sessions. Then, your attorney can process the paperwork once your settlement is reached. If you need a referral for an attorney outside of Sadek and Cooper we have a deep network of trusted attorneys for that purpose.