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What is Divorce Mediation?

Deciding to end a marriage is never an easy conclusion to come by.  There are a spectrum of emotions that one feels when their marital journey has come to a crossroad.

Seeking the support of a Divorce Mediator allows the couple to make their own decisions on the aesthetics of their divorce.  Mediation allows couples to stay out of court avoiding costly litigation, helps couples avoid communication breakdown, and reduces the chance of division of property, assets and custodial terms being decided by a judge. At the conclusion of mediation, Divorce Mediators compose a memorandum of understanding that can be presented before the court to pursue an uncontested divorce.

The cost for mediation services at Cognitive Behavior Institute is $250 per hour and is not covered by insurance. Mediation is typically a more financially feasible option for couples over the cost of litigation. For example, the average cost of mediation is approximately $4,000 and can be completed in 90 days if all is settled accordingly.  The mean cost of litigation is typically upwards of $15,000 and can take as long as 18 months or more.

Spouses with active addiction or a history of domestic violence within their relationship are not a good fit for mediation.


Illustration of a family

What is a Certified Divorce Mediator?

Certified Divorce Mediators are trained to support divorcing spouses with fair and equitable distribution of assets, finances, and matters relating to custody and child visitation, having completed a 33.5 hour program designed by attorney Susan Deveney, an licensed attorney in the state of Rhode Island with over two decades of experience mediating divorce cases in and out of the courtroom.  All certified Divorce Mediators are trained to support spouses who have chosen a route of divorce in navigating the areas of self-advocacy, empowerment in communication, un-biased participation, listening, and critical thinking skills in working through issues involved in their divorce.

Is mediation right for you?

If you and your spouse answer yes to the questions below, it is likely for you to have a positive and successful experience with mediation.

  • Are both parties in agreement that they are ready to proceed with obtaining a divorce?

  • Are you and your spouse willing and able to have negotiable conversations about the fair and equitable division of your marital assets?

  • Are you wanting to be more financially conservative by staying out of costly and lengthy litigation?

  • Are both parties willing to be frank and open about their financial situation including assets, investments, liquid cash, etc.?

  • Are both parties willing and able to have a fair exchange of terms with regard to custody?

  • Are you and your spouse looking to have a say on the terms of your divorce without having matters being determined by a judge?

How does Mediation work?

In mediation, a third (neutral) party supports couples in the decision-making process in the resolution of the following areas (although not limited to):

  1. Fair and Equitable distribution of property and finances (assets, investments, keepsakes, etc)

  2. Child/Custody Parenting with Fair and Equitable division of time

  3. Child/Spousal Support

It is the hope and intent with mediation procedures, that there are more expeditious and agreeable decision-making outcomes.  It should be noted that reaching an agreement is sometimes met more quickly and with less resistance and thus there may be areas that require greater communication and a willingness for malleability.  Mediators can aid in the bridging of dialogue to help a couple reach an agreement.

Mediation is a voluntary option that can be concluded at the discretion of the client (and in rare instances, the mediator).  Opening a free exchange between parting spouses supports a calm negotiation of the terms of the divorce.  An additional positive of mediation is the sense of confidentiality.  Mediation is not available for public record, thus allowing the terms of the divorce to remain between the couple.

Mediation also can provide fair and effective terms for custody of minor children and the maintenance of support for said children.

There is a greater tendency in mediation for couples to walk away feeling as though they were able to retain or obtain what it is they wanted from the divorce while doing so on their own terms with far less discord amongst the parties.

What can be expected at the first appointment?

Both spouses must be present at intake and return the Mediation Consent form at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled appointment. The appointment cannot take place if both spouses do not attend. During this appointment a further in-depth review of mediation services will be discussed, an overview of limitations (both legal and therapeutic), completion of a cost analysis, explanation of documents provided when mediation has concluded, as well as time to review questions by both spouses.

The intake appointment is scheduled for two hours at the rate of $250 per hour. Please note a credit card is required to be kept on file at the time of scheduling the intake appointment. The card on file can be updated at the time of the appointment if parties wish to use another card as a form of payment for the intake session. The form of payment used must be agreed upon by both spouses prior to attending the appointment.

Meet CBI's Certified Divorce Mediators


Michelle Butcher, LPC

Licensed Professional Counselor

As a Certified Divorce Mediator and Licensed Professional Counselor with 15 years experience in the counseling field, Michelle Butcher strives to provide proficient and unbiased communication and support to her clients. She considers herself a formidable arbitrator of fact, communication and conciliation.  The foundation of Michelle’s mediation process is based in guiding clients toward increased self-awareness and ultimately, the achievement of their desired goals. Being a Certified Divorce Mediator, Michelle has taken steps to create the Center for Mediation at CBI. Mediation serves to help couples avoid lengthy and costly litigation, and with her additional proficiencies in post-divorce planning and co-parenting through divorce, Michelle, through mediation, aims to support couples through all walks of the relationship – including amicable parting. Always client-centered, Michelle excels at articulating messages that others need to hear, pushing her clients to think outside of the box.


Trevor Stiffler, LCSW

Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Trevor Stiffler is a certified divorce mediator, psychotherapist, and a licensed clinical social worker whose intensive divorce and family law background centers on developing practical, commonsense solutions for couples’ divorce and family law concerns. Trevor’s diverse professional experience over the past seven years includes serving families in multiple capacities. He is especially proficient in custody and parenting plans, child support and alimony agreements, and divorce and-post divorce issues.  He has earned a reputation as a dedicated, compassionate problem solver who offers clarity and direction to spouses during the difficulty of a divorce. Trevor’s mediation practice draws on a deep well of experience working for families in all different situations.  Working together, and with the input of Trevor as an experienced certified mediator, spouses come to a resolution that is uniquely personal and advantageous. He uses common sense and realistic, collaborative problem-solving strategies to reach solutions as quickly and skillfully as possible.