Divorce / Family Mediation
Smart Court’s Divorce and Family Mediation provides a faster and less expensive means of resolving property, business and debt division, support, custody and co-parenting issues, in a private, comfortable non-adversarial setting. Smart Court Mediation helps return a sense of physical, emotional and financial stability as quickly as possible, to minimize harmful effects on couples and children.
What Do the Divorce/Family Law Mediators Do?
Your Smart Court Mediators do not act as judges and do not make decisions for either party. Instead, Attorney Bennett and Judge Ellsworth will guide you in defining the issues, recognizing needs/interests, generating options, arriving at support amounts, determine schedules in the best interests of your children, address the division of your property and debts, and help you negotiate a final settlement agreement. At the conclusion of the sessions, the Mediators and their paralegal staff draft the final settlement agreement and prepare the judgment package for submission to the court.
The Mediators are neutrals and do not represent either party. Mediation is not counseling or therapy, but is a process for taking control of the future. The Mediators cannot give legal advice, but legal information may be provided to both parties, jointly, where appropriate.
In addition to the mediation time with Attorney Bennett and Judge Ellsworth, if you need document drafting assistance to get your case initiated in the court (required for a final settlement/judgment to be entered), Smart Court offers document preparation and filing services by its highly trained family law paralegals and supervising attorneys. Your case can be initiated and filed with the court, without you ever having to be bothered with going into the courthouse. After your case is settled, Smart Court also provides wrap-up services such as preparation of real property deeds to transfer title, and corporate share transfers where one party is taking ownership of a business.
Most Smart Court cases are finished in a few weeks…not years.
Mediation is less expensive than going to court. It is not uncommon for couples going through traditional court divorces or custody disputes to spend $20,000 to $75,000 each in attorneys fees and court costs, and 18 to 30 months to get to trial or settlement. With Smart Court Mediation, most cases are finalized after one to three mediation hearings, plus document drafting time.
Of course, mediation time and cost depend on participants’ preparedness and cooperation, but most of our cases average $5,000 to $7,500 in total fees, commonly split between the parties. Between your mediation sessions, drafting your settlement agreement and filing the required documents with the court for approval, most cases are closed in a matter of a few weeks or months – not years. And the best part? You never have to set foot inside a courthouse.