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What is the mediation process?

How do I start Divorce Mediation?

How does Divorce Mediation work?

I was ordered to mediate. What do I do?

Do I need to bring anything with me to mediation?

Should I mediate or not?  Predictors of mediation success.

Why does mediation work? Mediation works because . . .

Why is mediation used? You may also use mediation for . . .

What is co-mediation?

Professional Fees



Mediation: Rough Draft, Final Draft and Filing


What if one person refuses to attend?

Why do this by myself?

Why mediate if the other refuses?

Will you give messages to the other party in mediation?


What do I do if the other person is abusive?



Do I need an attorney?

What if I just do not want an attorney? Can I do this without an attorney?

Is an attorney recommended?

What is the relationship between Attorneys and Others?




What is the mediation process?

Mediation is a process.  The mediation process will encourages all parties to discuss and negotiate a settlement based upon his/her own standard of fairness and his/her own feelings of what is best for him/her.

·        Mediation is a confidential process to help people resolve .

·        The mediator is a trained, impartial and neutral third party.

·        The mediator helps people look at their common difficulties, recognize and consider their alternatives, reach mutually acceptable wise solutions, and commit to their agreement in writing.

·        Allow a reasonable time frame for the mediation process to work.   Spend as much time as you would buying a house or a car. 

  I was ordered to mediate. What do I do?

1.     Just come to Family Mediation at your convenience. Any day 9am – 3pm .

2.     How long you wait before coming to mediation will depend on whether or not the court put a court date on your mediation and if a court date is pending.

3.     If a court date is pending or if your attorney sent you to mediation, the sooner you come to Family Mediation, the better for your case.

4.     When you come to Family Mediation you will watch a free orientation video and fill out the necessary forms to begin mediation.  The orientation is totally free of charge and is presented to help people understand what mediation is and help people understand what they have been ordered to do by the court.

5.     In New Mexico the New Mexico legislature wrote a statute that required mediation in cases that involve children, unless a good reason not to mediate is presented to the court.  This will usually require a court date. 

6.     If for some reason you cannot attend the free orientation, we will mail you the necessary documents for a fee of $25.00.  We strongly recommend that you attend the free video orientation session.

7.     If for some reason you do not understand the questions on the documents, the office staff will set you up with a phone conference with one of our mediators for $100.00 per hour billed in 15-minute increments, or you may attend or orientation for free. We strongly recommend that you attend the free orientation session.

  1. If children are involved and are unable to attend the free session and choose to pay for the document and pay to speak to a mediator, please come an hour early for your first appointment so you can have a private viewing of the orientation videos before your session.

All potential mediation clients are requested to attend a Free introduction and orientation session, which includes a 30-minte educational video, by Judge Kass describing mediation and how divorce affects children. It also des a 30-minute educational presentation on the mediation process, and discussion regarding the psychological effects of divorce on children.  At the end of this session, those who choose to signupfor mediation may do so.

After both parties have completed the intake session, a date for the first mediation session will be given.

Clients will be informed of attendance and the date of the first mediation session. 

Clients will also be informed if the other party has not attended.

Family Mediation Consent for Mediation must be signed and (in some cases) some type of Order for Mediation must be presented to Family Mediation before mediation can occur.

Be prepared to pay mediator before the mediation session and before documents are picked up.

Document fees must be paid before you pick up your document.  

Important:  If you desire a successful mediation, please do not let your mediator be your messenger.

  How do I start Divorce Mediation?

·         Most often one spouse or family member initiates and inquires about mediation.

·         An initial one and one half hour orientation is available for couples or family members in which questions regarding mediation are answered and each person's commitment to a fair and honest process is assessed.

·         Once a decision is made to enter into mediation, each person is asked to complete an orientation questionnaire, which supplies the information necessary for discussion and completion of an agreement.

  • One-hour mediation sessions are set up with the mediator and the parties to work together toward reaching an agreement.

How does divorce mediation work?

  • ·         Mediators help you identify and understand the relevant issues by taking you through a step-by-step process where the end result is a detailed mediated settlement agreement.

  • ·         An orderly procedure is followed by which you and your spouse, with the assistance of the mediator, review all the issues you need to address in your final divorce decree such as: real and personal property, division of asset and/or liabilities, tax considerations, spousal maintenance, child support, living arrangements for children, and parenting responsibilities.

  •     The result of mediation is a "plain language" Memorandum of Agreement which includes all decisions made by you and your spouse. Independent lawyers chosen by each of you review the Agreement to assure that your individual interests are protected. From this document one of the attorneys drafts the papers that will be presented to the Court.

"Mediation is best thought of as a process of conflict resolution whereby the parties
are encouraged to find the best result they can for themselves by
cooperative negotiation r
les rather than a competitive or adversarial process."

The process begins with an orientation session during which the mediators explain divorce mediation in detail, help the couple or individual identify the issues, and establish a date of session.

Next, the participants gather the necessary child care and financial information and are then ready to begin to review and resolve the issues important to them. With the help of the mediators, the couple develops and chooses options that are right for them. Couples may consult with tax, real estate, and business appraisal experts for additional information.

After the couple has reached agreement on the issues, the mediators provide them with a written agreement detailing their decisions. Each spouse takes the written agreement to an attorney for review. The attorneys' comments may be incorporated into the written agreement. When the agreement is completely acceptable to the couple, the case is scheduled for court approval of the divorce.

Do I need to bring anything with me to mediation?


1. BRING YOURSELF -- That is all that is truly necessary

2. If you have Orders from the Court, please bring them

3. If you are requesting reduced fees, please bring tax returns

4.  It is most important that you bring yourself and that we begin discussing your positions and why you have an interest in that position as soon as possible.


Family Mediation 

Family Mediation recommends the parties retain legal counsel at the beginning of the mediation process.  Family Mediation staff members are considered experts regarding how divorce effects children and at how to conduct a peaceful, civilized meeting. In regard to real estate, tax law, debts, and child support, please consult with your attorneys who are the experts in those areas.


What if one person refuses to attend?

1.  If you have attended the free orientation and the other party refuses to attend, the options you have are:

a. Get an attorney and let the attorney file an Order for Mediation.

b. Participate in Family Mediation program without the other person’s participation.

c.   Attend free group sessions at Family Mediation to get more information and support about your situation.

d. Have an individual session to problem solve with a Family Mediation Wise Person.

e. Go back to your attorney and ask that they file some kind of motion to show that the other person has ignored the Order for Mediation.

f.     Inform the Court in some way that the other party is refusing to comply with the Order.

If you choose to participate in Family Mediation after you attend the orientation session, we will:

a.     Send a letter to the other party that states   you have attended the orientation.

b.   Inform the other party that you are attempting to mediate to avoid a Court resolution


If you have an Order for Mediation, the party who refuses to attend mediation will be notified that if they do not attend mediation, they will be in contempt of the Court Order. 


We recommend that you meet with the mediator one time so your attorney can clearly state that you have made a good faith attempt to mediate and that you are in compliance with the Court Order.


At the end of your session with the mediator, if you request it, a legal document can be created that clearly defines your position in regard to the children and presents to you what a finished mediation will require.  You could then better discuss your position with the other party, your attorney or present your position in writing to the Court.


It also gives you (in some cases) a document outlining your position that you could show or mail to the person who is refusing to attend mediation, and perhaps get an out of court agreement.


 Why mediate if the other refuses?

  • To participate by yourself will get you a clear, legally stated, written description of your position ready to be presented to the Court Clerk for filing.
  • This clarifies for you your position so it is well defined, well described and well thought out.
  • In some cases, 25-50% of the time, the other party will sign the written statement when all the emotions have been taken out of the dispute.
  • Participating by yourself shows that you will continue with or without participation from the other party.  

  Why do this by myself?

  • May be a good idea to do the mediation by yourself as a clear statement of your intent to continue regardless of the other person’s participation or lack of participation.

  • Doing this yourself will give you and the other person a clear well stated position statement for future discussions.

  • Do this yourself and if and when you have a court hearing it can be seen that you attempted even when the other person refused.

  • If the other party fails to come to court, you can have a well-stated agreement that, in many cases, the court will approve and the other party will lose out of default.


  • Will you give messages to the other party in mediation?


  • Important:  If you desire a successful mediation, please do not let your mediator be your messenger.

  • Many people believe mediation is a place to exchange damaging messages.

  • Mediation is a place to resolve conflicts in a peaceful, civilized manner.

  • Please do not ask your mediator to side with you .

  •   Please do not get upset if your mediator does not side with you .

  • Please do not get upset if your mediator rephrases proposals and removes the angry or intimidating statements.

 What do I do if the document needs revisions?

   If your document requires revisions:

Write on your document what you would like

Calls to arrange an appointment to discuss your changes; or call s and arrange a phone appointment to discuss you changes; or drop off your changes for your mediator to review; or emails your changes for you r mediator to review.

The fee for each document revision is $25.00 .

  CLIENT Responsibilities

Please confirm all appointments before arrival.  The mediator is not responsible for informing other party of cancellation and/or of new mediation appointments. 

If mediation fails, insure that the final mediation report is delivered to your attorney and the courts.

It is recommended to not go to court without a final mediation report.


This is a review of what was discussed and agreed to on a conceptual basis.

Please \read document at least two times.

All the areas that need to be reviewed, revised or are still in dispute are marked.

If you see any problems, calls and setup another mediation appointment to review and revise problems in the carefully.

Please read two times prior to requesting changes. 

If revisions are needed, mark requested changes and please call 505-737-9348, FAX 505-737-5844, or email dstewart@laplaza.org and setup another mediation appointment to review and revise problems in the document.

If you can find no problem, please review this document with your attorney.  If you legal counsel finds a problem, please note the problem and please CALL  505-737-9348, FAX   505-737-5844 or EMAIL  dstewart@laplaza.org    

WEB SITE:  www.mediateUS.com  and set up another mediation appointment to review and revise the problems in the document.

IF NO REVISION S ARE REQUIRED, if you and your legal counsel agree with this document and can find no problem, call Family Mediation and haves produce a final draft.

Please come to Family Mediation and confirm the final draft.

Take final draft to your legal counsel.  The final draft is signed by both parties, both attorneys and the Judge and is usually filed by legal counsel.


Q. Is a mediated agreement as legally binding as a separation agreement written by attorneys?

Yes, and both these documents need to be approved by the court to be enforced.

Q. Do I have to go to court?


We recommend that both parties attend so that they can achieve some emotional closure.

Q. How long does it take to get a divorce?

in New Mexico it can take as little as 4 weeks and as much as 4 years in most states It takes approximately four months  from the time the divorce papers are served until the parties can go to court for the final hearing. It can take less time or longer, depending on how long it takes the couple to reach an agreement.

Q. Does it matter who is the plaintiff or who is the defendant?

No. However, MO S T ATTORNEY S WILL encourage the defendant to bring a cross complaint to make the parties equal in the process. AND SOME ATTORNEY S THINK IT CARRIE S some  psychological ADVANTAGE TO BE THE PETITIONER


Q. Is New Mexico a community property state?

Yes. This means each spouse is automatically entitled to half the property of the other spouse. Unless reasons not to divide the property equally are presented to the court.

Q. How are the length and amount of alimony determined?

A. GENERALLY IT IS  CONSIDERED SOMEWHAT MORE DIFFICULT TO GET ALIMONY IN NEW MEXICO BUT FACTOR SUCH A S The legal factors include the age, health, occupation, amount and source  of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of the parties, the opportunity of each for after acquisition of capital, assets and income, the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation of the assets, the needs of the parties. There is no formula for the length or amount of alimony.

Q. Will I be taken advantage of if I choose Divorce Mediation rather than adversarial divorce with my attorney confronting his/her attorney?

No. Mediators are conscious of power imbalances and will not allow one spouse to take advantage of the other spouse. Also, full disclosure of all assets and debts must be made by both parties.

Q. How is child support calculated?

The State of New Mexico has established child support guidelines for most couples. Couples who have incomes above the State maximums must negotiate the amount of child support beyond the floor set by the guidelines but formals exist that can assist that calculation.

 Why does mediation work?  

Mediation works because . . .

·        Mediation saves money and improves relationships and communication

·        Mediation is private and confidential and doesn't involve everyone knowing your situation

·        Mediation is informal and at your convenience

·        Mediation allows for self-determination -- it is your process 

·        Mediation is efficient and peaceful

 Mediation can...

  • Help both parents continue their relationship with the children

  • Help both parents explain the divorce to the children and answer their questions

  • Help both parents deal with problems the children are having as a result of the divorce

  • Help both parents cooperate during and after the divorce

  • Help both parents understand the emotional needs of their children

  • Help both parents make decisions about living arrangements and how time will be shared with their children

 You May Also Use Mediation For

·                     Temporary separation arrangements

·                     Final divorce settlements

·                     Post-divorce (post-decree) modifications

·                     Prenuptial agreements

·                     Changes in arrangements for the exchange of children after the divorce

·                     Any other family conflict

·                     Civil and business conflict resolutions


 We offer couples the choice of one mediator or co-mediation with another mediator OR AND ATTORNEY /psychologist working together. Many couples prefer the balance of a male and female mediator and the added insights these trained mediators with legal and mental health backgrounds bring to the process. The greater understanding of dynamics that a therapist-mediator brings to divorce mediation is very successful in overcoming blockages in the process. When custody issues exist, the input of the psychologist-mediator helps regarding children's reactions to divorce and the potential impact of various custody arrangements on children. The balance of a male and female mediator often makes each member of the couple feel more comfortable.



+ Desire for amicable post-divorce relationship.

+ Willingness to make own decisions.

+ Desire for fairness.

+ Willingness to give and take.

+ Ability to regulate intense emotions

+ Children's well-being is more important than financial results of divorce.




Lack of trust that other person will liveupto the agreement.

Desire for revenge.

Spousal or child abuse.

Substance abuse.

Only goal is to save money.

Little concern about impact of divorce on children.


If the other person is abusive or is attempting to coerce or intimidate your decisions

Please call s an arrange an appointment with your mediator

In these kinds of situations your feelings are valid

Whether you're truly being abused or just image you're being abused does not matter. It feels the same to the victim,

Please consult with s and allow s to help you  set up safe methods to communicate with each other in the presence of a neutral 3rd person

or let THE MEDIATOR communicate for you  /// your concerns to the other person or let s INFORM YOU OF safety  in a private one on one session



Yes, Absolutely,

Legal Representation

Family Mediation  service recommends retaining legal counsel at the beginning of the mediation process.

By doing this, each party will have a better understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities and will avoid being surprised custody by legal issues or concerns raised by their attorney after assuming that all decisions have been finalized.

The mediator is not a lawyer and doesn't represent either party.

Effective legal representation is required and it is strongly recommended that each party retain legal counsel of his/her own choice no later than at the conclusion of the mediation process.



We cannot advise you regarding an attorney to see

We have gotten in trouble in the past

Other than suggest some questions that we recommend you ask your attorney or your mediator.

Please ask your attorney OR MEDIATOR IF THEY FEEL THEY ARE AN EXPERT IN child custody cases

Please ask your attorney if they are a family law attorney or a member of the family law association.

Please check at the court house for the attorneys who specialize in child custody case

Be careful

Do not hire an attorney that does mostly real-estate when your issues to be addressed are your children

This work is the most important issues you will ever address 

have an appointment with your mediator and Work with your mediator to develop the document

Or work with minimal phone contact with the staff at Family Mediation and the web site to develop the document

take the document to the court clerk for filing



Relationships With Attorneys And Others


Mediates inc. is prepared to coordinate relationships with attorneys, accountants, appraisers, counselors, clergy or other advisors. Mediators do not make decisions, provide therapy, give legal advice or perform legal services for the divorcing parties. Mediator does review all possible options and reviews the pros and cons with both parties.  In therapeutic mediations the mediator does request permission of the parties to act as an advocate for the child's interests.

"Through the increasing se of divorce mediation the public is now finding that it can take more control
of family problems and eliminate the excesses of the adversarial divorce system."

What if  I just do not want an attorney can I do this without an attorney?

Yes you can do this with out an attorney

We do not recommend it however if you are sure you want to do this without legal counsel please Attend the Family Mediation free orientation so you  will a have well informed understanding of how important it is to be careful and make good decisions with your kids.

please Attend the district court free divorce clinic 


 I have gotten a attorney and I want to go to court what do you think?

Reply:  Good, good idea, I know a lot about this and I would have an attorney

I would not do what you're going to do without consulting with an attorney

I always advise people to have an attorney to consult with

It is a smart thing to do

Get information

Get informed

Be careful

Plan your case well

Spend your money on preparing a good case


I would not want to go to court to lose

Please let me know how this ends up

So I can help other people going thru what you're going thru Hoe

If you change your mind after talking with your attorney let us know because perhaps we can negotiate some kind of settlement that is close to something good for the kids.


Try and decide before going to court.


After court the mediated agreement is sometimes withdrawn.

Sometimes people will spend 20,000 dollars on attorney’s accountants and court to discover that the mediated agreement wasn’t so bad.


Even though you know in your heart it is not right

The issues for the court is can you prove that it is not right.  





Who cares for your child and how your child is cared for are two of the most important decisions you will make for the rest of your lives. 

Is your child going to do well 3-20 years from now???

What you do now predicts this.

Never, if you can in any way help it, ever discuss the child support, property and debt issues until the child issues are established.  It is damaging to establish a child support agreement based on how much child support you will be required to pay. Your child is precious beyond price.  Do not equate a price to your child.  It is damaging.

How your child is cared for is in no way related to child support, debt or property issues.  Where your child will flourish..............

NOTHING ELSE..........should be the determining factor in making decisions concerning childcare.

Click here to go to library site for child support information

Professional Fees

The cost of mediation is generally lower than the cost of adversarial litigation and the fees are normally shared by both parties. 

Hourly mediator fees and administration charges are discussed during the initial consultation. There is no charge for the initial ORIENTATION session.


For clients who meet the following specific criteria, A Sliding FEE I S AVAILABLE:


  • A copy of some type of order for mediation signed by the judge

  • Completion of the income section on the intake form page

  • Married couple's income must be under $31,000 combined income per year and individuals not married must have an individual's income under $21,000 per year verified by proof

  • W-2 or proof of (gross income) income for sliding fee scale.                 

  • This information will be compared with child supports information submitted to the courts.

  • In most mediation cases, a order for mediation must be filed by a lawyer.  A copy of the order for mediation must be presented to Family Mediation Project before any discounted fee mediation can be performed.  



Phone Sessions
mailto:webmaster@mediateus.com                  Taos Office         575-737-9348 
                  Santa Fe Office 866-737-9348 TOLL FREE     
                       Fax               575-737-5844  


Physical address  

  please feel free to visit our Taos office any time, Drop ins welcomed

          705 Felicidad Taos, NM    Taos Maps and Driving Directions           

Postal address                

                        705 felicidad 8021 NDCBU Taos, NM 87571

Last modified: September 10, 2009 
Copyright © 2001 MediateUS
Email  webmaster@mediateus.com 
If you know of any great links to child custody information or books and articles please e-mail us





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