What is Family Law Mediation?

Family Law Mediation is a process by which people resolve their family disputes with the help of a neutral Attorney experienced in mediation work who can help them reach a settlement of all the legal issues of a family law matter. The ultimate goal is to reach agreements which meet the goals of each participant.

"What I liked best was
having an agreement that
we would work to solve it
to a place that we were
BOTH satisfied." - S.B.

The role of the Mediator is to facilitate your discussions, give information to make sure all legal bases are covered and brainstorm solutions. You make all the decisions. Trish Nugent has been through this with well over a thousand couples, and she has a lot of ideas on how to carry out what you are working towards.

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8 Tips For Successful Dispute Resolution 8 Tips For Successful Dispute Resolution (19 KB)

Trish Nugent will also give you her opinion as to how the Court would rule on each of the issues to enable you to make informed decisions.  Your agreements do not need to match this model.

After each meeting, Trish Nugent will send out a letter outlining the tentative agreements reached, the issues still to be discussed and the paperwork still needed. This provides a running history for you. All of the decisions reached at our meetings are ultimately drafted by Trish Nugent into a written agreement. 

Between meetings, you may wish to talk with your own advising Attorney. In fact, once an agreement has been reached on the disputed issues, that agreement should be reviewed by an independent Attorney for each of you.

The Benefits of Family Law Mediation:

  • Mediation saves money, time and emotional stress. Mediation avoids expensive court appearances and the bitterness and hostility that accompany them.
  • Your agreements will be honored because you are the ones who make them, not your Attorneys or a Judge.
  • Children are better served when their parents work out a custody-sharing plan for them rather than having a schedule imposed by the court system.
"For such a bad situation
all I experienced with
Trish and her assistant 
was kind, sincere
and caring." - W. C.

Which Family Disputes Can Be Mediated?

  • Separation and Divorce
  • Child Custody and Visitation
  • Spousal and Child Support
  • Division of Property
  • Non-Marital Relationship Break-up
  • Domestic Partnership Dissolution

Frequently Asked Questions About Family Law Mediation:

How can Mediation work if we are arguing right now?

Often just having a neutral third person present can open up the lines of communication. Also, Trish Nugent is trained to help you communicate with each other in an effective manner. 

Will Mediation be easy? 

Mediation is not "easy". It is never easy to negotiate sometimes complex legal issues during what is, of course, an emotional time and with a person with whom your relationship is changing dramatically. Going through a breakup is like going through any process of loss.

What about all the court paperwork? 

Trish Nugent will work with you to prepare the needed court paperwork and her assistant  will handle all the details of serving and filing this paperwork with the Court. 

Should our attorneys attend? 

Mediation can be very effective with only the parties present and also very effective with Attorneys present.  

Which is better for me - Mediation or Collaborative Law? 

There are different advantages to each process. Some examples are:

  • Mediation is more informal and less costly.
  • A Collaborative setting has a larger support team.
  • Mediation can incorporate referrals to Family Counselors, Financial Advisers, Business and Property Appraisers.
  • A Collaborative Process can include Communications Coaches, a Child Specialist and Financial Professionals as team members.
  • A neutral Attorney assists you in mediation and you may also have your own Attorney advising you or attending meetings.
  • In a Collaborative Process you have your own Attorney who represents you in all the negotiations.

How much will Mediation cost? 

Trish Nugent's mediation work is done on a "pay-as-you-go plan" so that you do not have to come up with a large retainer (advance prepayment). Trish Nugent sets aside two hours for most mediation sessions.. You can call Trish Nugent at 707-523-1135 for her currently hourly rate and to ask any questions about the mediation process at no charge.

"It was empowering
to be able to speak
from my heart
in front of
my spouse." - P.L.

How many meetings will I need? 

Trish Nugent has had cases be completed in 2 meetings and 2 months and cases needing 8 meetings and 6-9 months. After the first meeting she will have a good estimate of how many meetings you might need. An average would be 4 or 5  meetings. The two main factors determining how long it will take are the emotional complexity and the financial complexity.

What if I have questions? 

If you have any questions about the mediation process, please bring them up at the first session or call and speak with Trish Nugent for a brief conversation at no charge. 

What should I bring to my first meeting? 

It is helpful, but not necessary, to bring the following paperwork to your first meeting: recent pay stub (profit and loss statement if self-employed or corporation); most recent tax return (personal and corporate, if appropriate); copies of real property deeds; and a general overview of your assets and obligations.