Cincinnati Family Law & Divorce Blog: Different Types of Mediation Services and Their Benefits

Mediation is the process where parties meet with a neutral third-party professional to facilitate discussion around reaching agreements in their divorce or dissolution, including issues of property, support, and custody.  Mediation can also occur following a divorce or dissolution, often for new matters that come up concerning their children. In fact, almost all shared parenting plans include a mandatory mediation provision. A mediator is usually either an attorney or a mental health professional who has specifically been trained in leading mediation discussions. Generally, it is recommended that for all financial issues, a lawyer is engaged for mediation. Often a mental health professional can bring added value for parenting matters.


One mediation route that can be used to facilitate reaching agreements is utilizing a court’s mediation services. If court mediation is used, a mediator will be appointed to facilitate the mediation process. Parties may voluntarily agree to utilize the court’s mediation department, or the magistrate assigned to the parties’ court case may order that the parties attend mediation with a court-appointed mediator. In Hamilton County Domestic Relations Court, the court charges $300 for financial mediation pre- or post-Decree, $150 for parenting mediation post-Decree, and no cost for parenting mediation pre-Decree. This is a one-time charge, and the number of mediation sessions varies depending on what both the mediator and parties attending the mediation believe is helpful. Note that the cost for court mediation services varies depending on the county, and whether the case is in the Domestic Relations or Juvenile court in that county.  Furthermore, some courts do not have mediation services to offer.


Another way the parties can utilize mediation is by hiring a private mediator. If the parties choose to hire a private mediator, the court is not involved in the process, and the private mediator would bill at their hourly rate or request a retainer to cover the cost of their work. The cost of a private mediator can vary depending on the mediator the parties select.


It must be understood that a mediator does not make decisions. A mediator is present to facilitate discussion between the parties to assist them in coming to their own agreement.


During either a court or private mediation session, the parties may attend the mediation with just the mediator, or with their attorneys present.


Consulting with an attorney can assist you in determining if mediation would be beneficial for your case specifically, and which road to mediation is the most appropriate for you.