How long does a divorce mediation take?

The overall length of time required to reach a comprehensive agreement is usually determined by each person's understanding of the issues and their ability to agree on these issues.  Other factors having a direct effect on the length of time it takes to reach an agreement are:

 

  • The amount, number, and complexity of income, assets and liabilities.

  • The amount and duration of support - either child support or alimony.

  • The way you each view legal and physical custody of your children.

  • The amount of debt you owe and your ability to pay it.

  • The real estate market.

  • Ownership of a business or practice.

 

The length of time is determined by the divorcing couple. The Family and Probate Court will not intervene in a private mediation, rather, the court will review the settlement at the court hearing.  Once finalized, your agreements regarding assets and liabilities are lasting and final, and your agreements regarding support may be modified without a requirement to return to divorce court.

 

In virtually every case, a mediated divorce settlement is reached in less time and with less acrimony than in attorney-controlled collaborative or adversarial negotiations.  In one study, couples in the adversarial sample reported spending 134% more (more than twice as much) for their divorces than those in the mediation sample.

 

Further, an adversarial divorce can easily take two or more years before the final settlement is hammered out, and even once finalized, the unfair results often create a situation in which one or both parties return to the Family and Probate Court to modify the terms of their settlement.

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