Questions & Answers
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Before seeking the services of Mediation One, it’s best to be informed of what to expect. These are the frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers.
Q: Do you have to hire an attorney to divorce or separate in Minnesota?
A: In Minnesota, you are not required to retain an attorney to divorce or legally separate. Some clients request the legal opinion of an attorney if we cannot resolve an issue in our mediation sessions. Legal advice on specific issues are often helpful toward resolution and mediation moving forward.
Our process is structured and thorough, and we offer reports and analysis during the sessions to help the couple see that the agreement is fair and acceptable. As a result, many couples move through our process without feeling the need for legal advice.
However, either party can request legal advice between our mediation sessions, and we do recommend that each spouse ask an experienced family law attorney to review the final agreement before the legal documents are signed.
Q: Do we have to pay an up-front retainer fee?
A: No up-front retainer is requested. The divorce process should not bring the couple undue financial hardship. To help, we keep the cost down and offer a pay-as-you-go process; payment is made after each session for the time involved.
Q: Will we have to appear in court?
A: Our clients do not appear in court during mediation. Our private sessions are relaxed and comfortable. In addition, scheduling sessions is much more simple and convenient than in the court process.
Q: How long does a typical mediated divorce take?
A: This is a very important crossroad in life and we don’t want a couple to rush and make decisions they may regret later. Our client couples are usually more amicable and cooperative, so we can usually begin preparation of the legal documents after about three two-hour sessions.
If sessions progress well and we meet in sessions regularly, the entire process will usually take 3-4 months.
Q: How are parenting issues addressed?
A: At Mediation One, the future well-being and happiness of the couple’s children are very important. Kent helps design a flexible, fair parenting plan that will work in our client’s often hectic daily lives, and allows both parents to continue a close, loving relationship with their children.
We also mediate with parents who are already divorced, and are requesting modification of child support or details of an existing parenting plan.
Q: What is the estimated cost?
A: We’re not sure yet because as Kent says, “I once brought my car to a mechanic and asked him to get rid of an annoying tapping in the engine. As he lifted the hood, I asked what he thought it would cost to repair my car.”
Kent chuckled at his answer: “Right now, I don’t have the foggiest idea of what is wrong. If you will let me take a closer look, I can give you a pretty good estimate. But if you know what’s wrong, tell me and I’ll give you the exact cost.”
To “take a closer look” at your particular situation, both spouses need to attend the one-hour introduction visit. At the end of the visit, Kent will provide you with a written cost estimate and both you and Kent will better understand whether Mediation One is the best option for you.
You will not be asked to make a commitment during the introduction visit, and Kent won’t contact you after. The decision as to who helps you at this time is very important to your future. Make a comfortable, informed decision.
Q: Do you have references?
A: We would like to offer references; Kent has helped many couples through this difficult process. But, divorce or separation is a very personal decision and we cannot divulge our client’s personal information.