Here are some common questions and answers about divorce, mediation and other matters our clients are facing.
Why should I use a mediator?
From the moment that someone mentions the idea of divorce, a sea of emotions rise and many times drive someone to make irrational or uninformed decisions. The mediation process allows you to control your divorce by utilizing the services of an attorney trained mediator who will listen to your concerns, obtain the information necessary to guide both of your through the process, and then provide all legally binding documents necessary to resolve your divorce.
Mediation provides you with an opportunity for educated decision-making by you and your spouse as well as an intelligent resolution of all issues. It's your divorce, you should control the process.
How do we get started with mediation?
The first step in the process of working with us is simple – send an email or give us a call. You will speak directly with Chris, and during the free mediation phone consultation he will provide you with an overview of the mediation process, an estimate of fees (including a description of his flat fee document preparation) and answer your questions.
Following the initial phone call and agreement upon a date for the first mediation session, our office will provide you with a list of topics for discussion combined with a list of documents to assemble. These materials allow clients to prepare for the mediation sessions and utilize their time efficiently with the mediator. Even for those clients who are unable to communicate with each other outside of mediation, having the opportunity to consider these topics greatly assists couples during the actual mediation process.
Is the mediator my attorney?
Although Chris is a Colorado attorney, in his role as a professional Colorado mediator he works for both parties. As a result he can't be either party’s legal counsel. Each spouse is encouraged to consult an attorney to review their case.
How long do mediation sessions last?
We ordinarily schedule mediation sessions for two hours in length. After years of experience we have found that two hour mediation sessions provide the appropriate balance between sufficient time to cover a significant amount of material as well as avoiding the feeling of being overwhelmed by the divorce mediation process.
What can I expect in a mediation session?
Mediation sessions are very focused and directive. The unique mediation process with Chris allows for an efficient, intelligent and thorough resolution of the topics necessary to address for a Colorado divorce. Following each session, clients receive the mediation worksheets containing the topics addressed as well as the tentative agreements and discussions during the mediation process. Rarely do other mediators provide such feedback following a session.
How many mediation sessions will be needed?
Ordinarily when no children are involved, one to two mediation sessions are necessary to reach an agreement. When the divorce process involves children, couples typically average two mediation sessions. The number of mediation sessions with Chris are significantly less than those with other mediators due to our focused mediation process as well as the materials provided to clients allowing them to work through some issues outside of the mediation session.
Are you able to prepare all of our court documents?
Chris will assist you in completing the forms to start the divorce. Then once agreements have been reached in mediation, Chris will complete all necessary documents to finalize the divorce, including a highly customized Memorandum of Understanding, also referred to as a Separation Agreement or Separation Agreement and Parenting Plan. Finally, clients will attend the "final documents session" in order to review these documents. The end product is a package of documents that clients submit to the Court for final approval by the corresponding magistrate or judge.
What are the fees?
Couples are charged $145 per person, per hour (if dividing fees equally) for mediation sessions as well as document drafting. Unlike attorneys, we do not charge for brief telephone calls or emails, session preparation or dictation of notes after the mediation session.
Before drafting your final documents, Chris will provide a flat fee cost for the drafting; there will be no additional or hidden fees at your final document session.
Our cost structure is simple and up front. There are no retainers, you pay as you go. The total estimated cost for a divorce when no children are involved is approximately $1,900 to $2,200 and the total costs for a divorce when children are involved is $2,200 to $2,800. We do accept most major credit cards.
How much can I save with mediation?
When compared to the traditional legal process of "each person hires their own attorney," a mediated divorce allows couples to maintain control of their lives as well as their finances. Ordinarily each party in the "traditional divorce" will pay their attorney a minimum retainer of $5,000 to $10,000 and in many cases each spouse can spend $20,000 or more.
Typically a mediated divorce with Split Simple will cost each person $1,000-$1,400. Turning your case over to attorneys means that you are placing your future in the hands of two people who are fighting to achieve very different results or ultimately allowing a Judge to make important decisions about your life.
Mediation allows you to retain control of the process, but still make an informed, intelligent decision. In mediation, you do not waive your legal rights but instead reach an Agreement that fits the needs of both parties as well as the associated law in Colorado.
I can do this myself; why should I use a mediator?
Our extensive mediation experience means that your divorce documents will not only accomplish what you and your spouse wish to accomplish, but these documents will also be approved by your judge. One of the major risks for clients who prepare documents themselves, even those who utilize the state forms, is that either the Agreement is not sufficiently drafted to accomplish the goals of the parties resulting in legal problems down the road or the reviewing judge has some issue with the drafted documents and refuses to approve them.
We have agreed on everything. Why do we need a mediator?
Great! Your process with us will be a streamlined one – with likely costs less than those described. And there is still a great benefit to utilizing our services where we will provide you with information regarding estimated taxes given a new tax filing status, how to avoid common "tax traps" in post-divorce support plans, how to avoid taxes in the division of retirement and investment accounts and recommendations given current research on different parenting plans.
Even in those situations where a couple "knows what they want to do", working briefly with a mediator – even in more of a consulting/technician role – can ensure that all issues are appropriately addressed in the legal documents. Typically a well qualified mediator can save money for clients regarding taxes or asset transfers - and these saved costs more than pay for the associated mediation fees.
Why should I choose your mediation services instead of another mediator?
With 12 years of full time mediation experience, as well as having the background of a Colorado attorney and marriage and family therapist, Chris Griffith provides a unique set of skills and knowledge to offer clients. This background, coupled with Chris's focused process and up front pricing, means that you will receive the highest quality divorce mediation services available.
When you mediate with Split Simple, you can rest assured that you are working with a highly experienced mediator who provides an efficient and cost effective route to resolving your divorce. In addition to our experience, all clients have access to powerful software allowing them to estimate their post divorce cash flow given a new filing status as well as the impact of various support plans, including the tax impact of spousal support. In addition, each client receives by email and at no additional cost, after each session, their customized divorce worksheets, containing the issues discussed during the mediation session.
As a result, not only do our clients evaluate many different options during the course of a mediation session, but they are also afforded the opportunity to evaluate and further develop those options outside of mediation. It is just another way that we work to keep our clients informed and in control of this difficult process.
Do you limit your practice to divorce?
No. The Split Simple advantages are available to all family law cases, including:
- Child custody
- Child support modification
- Alimony modification
- For never married parents, we support “allocation of parental responsibilities”
Where are you located?
Split Simple has 18 convenient locations to serve all of metropolitan Denver and Chicagoland.
- Denver North Metro (Westminster / Broomfield / Erie) – 10955 Westmoor Drive, 4th floor, Westminster, Colorado, 80021
- Denver Location – 999 18th Street, Suite 3000, Denver, Colorado, 80202
- Denver Location – 720 S. Colorado Blvd., Penthouse North, Denver, Colorado, 80246
- Stapleton Location – 8354 Northfield Blvd., Building G, Suite 3700, Denver, Colorado, 80238
- South Denver Location – 8310 South Valley Highway, 3rd Floor, Englewood, Colorado, 80112
- South Denver Location (Centenniel / DTC) – 5445 DTC Parkway, Penthouse 4, Greenwood Village, Colorado, 80111
- Boulder Location – 1434 Spruce St, Boulder, Colorado 80302.
- Douglas County (Parker / Highlands Ranch) – 1745 Shea Center Drive, 4th Floor, Highlands Ranch, Colorado, 80129
- Golden Location – 14143 Denver West Parkway Suite 100 Golden, CO 80401
- Park Meadows – 9233 Park Meadows Dr, Lone Tree, CO 80124
- Aurora Location – 3190 S. Vaughn Way, Suite 550, Aurora, Colorado, 80014
- Summit County – 711 Granite St, Frisco, CO 80443
- Eagle County – 31099 Capitol Street Suite 200 Eagle, Colorado 81631
- Lakewood Location – 200 Union Blvd., Suite 200, Lakewood, Colorado, 80228
- Chicago Location – Two Prudential Plaza, 180 N Stetson Ave #3500, Chicago, IL 60601
- Oak Park – 1010 Lake St #200, Oak Park, IL 60301
- Park Ridge – 350 S Northwest Hwy #300, Park Ridge, IL 60068
- Evanston –Bank One Bldg, 1603 Orrington Ave #600, Evanston, IL 60201
Remote participation options: For not only our local clients but also for clients all over the world, Split Simple has been a pioneer in conducting remote mediation sessions utilizing collaboration software.