Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is divorce mediation?
Couples work together with a professional mediator to resolve all of the issues involved in their divorce. The mediator assures that both parties make fully informed decisions about the division of their assets (such as real estate, investment accounts, and retirement benefits), allocation of debts, child and/or spousal support, and parenting arrangements for minor children.

At Out-of-Court Solutions, each of our mediators’ expertise includes both law and psychology, and certification in the Situational™ approach to mediation.

What is the Situational™ approach to mediation?
Originated by Oliver Ross, JD*, PhD, the founder of Out-of-Court Solutions, the Situational™ approach to mediation is an advanced method of mediation that has proven highly effective in resolving disputes quickly, caringly and inexpensively.

The Situational™ approach requires that the mediator adapt the mediation process to conform to each particular situation. It also requires that the mediator assure that everyone is heard, makes fully informed decisions, and enters into sensible agreements (a sample of the divorce agreement can be requested to help guide both parties).

What does the mediator do?
Mediators have different backgrounds and experience. Each mediator at Out-of-Court Solutions is experienced in law, psychology, and business, and makes sure that divorcing couples fully understand all of the legal, financial, parenting, and other issues involved in their situation. Our mediators also help couples effectively communicate and negotiate, explore alternative ways of resolving disagreements, and deal with the anger, sadness and other emotions common to separation and divorce. After a couple has decided everything, our mediators prepare a comprehensive and legally binding settlement agreement.

How does mediation differ from court-based divorce?
In mediation, divorcing couples do not surrender control to attorneys or a judge. Our mediators provide the legal, financial, parenting, and other information needed to make fully informed decisions – and divorcing couples decide what is best for them based on their particular relationship, needs, and standards. Mediation takes place in a safe, collaborative environment, and is significantly less stressful than adversarial, win-lose court-based proceedings.

How much does mediation cost?
Divorcing couples typically spend less than $3800 for everything from start to finish plus court fees. This is very inexpensive compared to using two separate lawyers, who require retainers of no less than $3500 to $5000 from each spouse (or together $7000 to $10,000) just to get started — and according to The Wall Street Journal lawyers usually wind up costing divorcing couples $27,000 or more!

How long does mediation take?
Mediation typically involves weeks rather than the many months or years divorcing couples spend in dealing with lawyers and the court.

How does mediation benefit children?
Research shows that using adversarial lawyers increases parental hostility, which impacts children on a deep, psychological level. With their education and experience in psychology (in addition to law), our mediators help parents focus on the best interests of their children so as to develop durable support and parenting arrangements.

Are there times when it’s not appropriate to mediate?
When one spouse is in physical danger, or is unwilling to participate in good faith, mediation would not be appropriate.

What if we already agree on lots of issues?
These agreements often serve as a foundation for resolution of other issues and overall agreement. They are likely to expedite the mediation and further reduce the cost.

What if I want an independent attorney’s help?
At any stage of mediation and/or before signing a settlement agreement, you are free to consult with an independent attorney if you want additional information or legal advice. Your mediator will provide you with a list of attorneys who are expert in divorce matters, do not charge a retainer fee, and in mediation function as consultants rather than combatants. With Out-of-Court Solutions®, use of an independent attorney is an option, not a requirement.

What if I don’t know as much or I am less assertive than my spouse?
Our mediators will even out any differences in education, background, and experience. They will also make sure that an atmosphere of mutual respect is maintained in which any threats, intimidation, verbal aggressive, and the like are prohibited.

Who prepares the court documents?
We prepare and file on your behalf all of the legal documents required by the Superior Court to obtain a decree of dissolution of marriage (i.e., divorce). You will never set foot in court.

How long does the Court take to finalize the divorce documents?


court-process-2We can get your Arizona Divorce or Legal Separation done within 90 days!

Step 1: Begins when we prepare your first set of legal documents, and ends when these documents are filed with the court and returned to our office – all usually within 5 days or less.

Because Arizona is a “no-fault” divorce state, there is absolutely no legal significance as to which spouse is the “Petitioner” (the one who initiates the divorce or legal separation in the state of Arizona) versus the “Respondent” (the one who responds to the Petition).

Step 2: Arizona’s 60-day mandatory waiting period begins when the Respondent signs an Acceptance of Service form, and ends 60 days thereafter.

Because of Arizona’s 60-day mandatory waiting period, many of our clients begin the court process near the beginning of mediation.

Step 3: Begins when we prepare and file your second and final set of legal documents with the court and ends when a Judge signs a Consent Decree for divorce (or legal separation) by agreement – all usually within 20 days.

Because we prepare an all-inclusive settlement agreement, we guarantee that the Judge will approve your divorce or legal separation!

What are the chances for success?
We are very proud of our success rate: over 95% of divorcing couples who mediate with Out-of-Court Solutions reach full agreement and those that do not are protected because under Arizona law anything said or prepared for mediation is strictly confidential and barred from use in court.

How do I get other questions answered?

Arrange for a Free Consultation by calling (602) 357-8350 | (520) 829-5077
Contact us by email at

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