Fox Family Lawyers
Cynthia Moseley Fox
Attorney at Law
7751 Carondelet Avenue,
Suite 700
Clayton, Missouri 63105
(St. Louis)

Divorce Mediation Process

As with clients that we represent individually, this relationship also begins with an initial meeting, except that both husband and wife meet together with Cynthia Fox. Typically, the meeting is held at Cindy’s office in Clayton, which is just one block from the St. Louis County Court House, although one of the parties may participate by telephone when it is impractical for him/her to attend in person.

The initial meeting usually lasts 45 minutes and provides the opportunity for both parties to learn how mediation works and what their roles, and the role of the mediator, will be.  The prospective clients should bring any information they have that might be relevant.  Each party will have the opportunity to discuss their perspective on the marriage, the prospective divorce and their goals and concerns as they start down the path toward dissolving their marriage. As with all clients, the couple can be completely confident that what each says will be held with the utmost confidentiality.

Both parties have to agree to mediate their divorce for the process to proceed. If, at any time, either spouse decides that they no longer want to participate, then the mediation comes to an end. In addition, each spouse may at any time retain separate legal counsel to advise on, or review, the work being accomplished in mediation.

The fee for an initial 45-minute meeting is $150.00, but this fee can be rebated against future fees under certain circumstances. (See Making An Appointment and Fees) Should both parties agree to initiate mediation, each spouse will be asked to sign a retainer agreement and pay an initial retainer. The couple will also agree as to how the fees are to be paid, although many couples agree to split them evenly.  Personal checks, Master Card, Visa and Discover credit cards are all welcomed.

Cynthia Fox is an experienced, certified and court-approved divorce mediator, in addition to being an accomplished divorce attorney. As such, she is well-positioned to assist couples in identifying the issues that need to be resolved before the court will issue the decree, as well as working collaboratively with the couple to work through conflicts in resolving these issues. Once all the issues are resolved, Cindy will prepare all the final settlement documents that the couple will then present to the court.

Importantly, when Cynthia’s mediates a divorce she is prohibited from representing either party individually as their attorney. She only meets with the participants together.

Since every couple and every divorce is unique, any description of the divorce mediation process must be general. However, divorce mediation typically proceeds through the following milestones:

  1. Every divorce begins with one spouse filing a petition for divorce and the other spouse is then  required to file an answer with the court. When this step has not yet been taken or completed, Cynthia assists the couple in preparing the documents the court will require, which the couple will  then present to the court. (Mediators are prohibited by law from presenting these (or any) documents to the court, but special expertise is not required if the documents are properly prepared.)
  2. For every divorce, each party is required to provide a statement of property (i.e. a list of what they own and owe), a statement of their income and expense, and a parenting plan for any children born of the marriage. Additionally, the court requires that the issues of financial support for any children or for one spouse or the other be addressed and resolved equitably before a divorce is granted.
  3.  As their mediator, Cynthia provides the couple with the forms they need and guidance on how they should be completed in order to comply with the court’s requirements. Often, Cindy will provide her mediation couples with “homework” that involves gathering information, financial records and other data needed to complete the forms.
  4. Couples will report back after tackling their “homework”. Sometimes all has gone smoothly with the parties agreeing on the value of various assets and on what property is “marital” and what is the separate property of one of them. But, often, such is not the case and Cindy’s job is to help the couple work through these differences of opinion, making sure that one person’s beliefs don’t dominate the other’s, while advising both on what the law and the court will likely require.
  5. This cycle of meeting jointly with Cynthia to identify the next set of issues to resolve and receive guidance and forms, followed by “homework”, and then followed by reconvening with Cindy for negotiation and resolution repeats itself until all the issues the court wants addressed have been resolved. And although this process can take several weeks and multiple meetings, the total time and money invested is usually significantly less than what the couple would spend collectively if they proceeded with the normal process of working through their own individual attorneys.
  6. Once the couple has addressed and resolved all the issues relevant to their divorce, Cindy prepares a final settlement document that reflects these agreements. Once prepared and approved by both spouses, they then present it to the court. Once the court accepts the final settlement, it will issue the decree and any orders needed to effectuate the agreements made by the couple.