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Frequently Asked Questions
How does mediation work?
The role of the mediator is to facilitate communication, offer guidance in decision making and promote viable alternatives to resolve difficult issues. Each party will have the opportunity to talk uninterrupted about his or her issues or concerns and how they would like to see them settled. Together we generate a list of issues to address and then work cooperatively to resolve each issue. The goal is for the parties to reach an agreement that will be considered fair and acceptable and honored by both parties now and in the future. There are no winners or losers. A written agreement or Memorandum of Understanding is given to each participant upon completion of the mediation. The memorandum may be shared with attorneys or the court system, if appropriate. The discussions held during mediation are considered confidential. The mediator may not be called to testify in Court regarding the mediation. If you still have questions, contact us for a free consultation.
Who pays for mediation?
The cost of mediation is split equally between the parties unless the parties have a different payment arrangement in advance or there is a Court Order for an alternate payment arrangement.
What does mediation cost?
The cost of mediation varies depending on the cooperation of the parties, the number of mediation sessions needed and if an agreement is needed. There is no retainer for mediation. Payment is expected at the end of each mediation session for any time spent mediating and payment is collected in advance if an agreement needs to be drafted. Contact us for a free consultation for more detail.
Do I need an attorney to attend mediation?
No. Whether or not you have an attorney does not affect your ability to attend mediation. I work in cooperation with attorneys. As a mediator I do not give legal advice. If you need legal questions answered, you will be advised to speak with an attorney outside of mediation. Mediation itself is not legally binding. If you reach an agreement in mediation it will be provided to you after mediation and you have the opportunity to visit with an attorney to have any legal questions answered before you sign any agreements.
If I have an attorney do they attend mediation with me?
Generally, no. Since the mediation itself is not legally binding you do not need to have your attorney present with you. In some cases, your attorney may be present and that is decided on a case-by-case basis. Your attorney may help you prepare for mediation and is available to answer your questions before, during and after mediation. A financial benefit of mediation is the ability for both parties to meet with the mediator to work out a customized agreement which can then be discussed with your attorney. Contact us for a free consultation for more detail.
Do I need to have paperwork filed with the Court to attend mediation?
No. At any time during your Divorce or Custody process you may attend mediation. Whether you represent yourself or have an attorney representing you, you can reach an agreement in mediation and include that agreement with any paperwork you subsequently file with the Court.
Can I bring my new spouse/significant other to mediation with me?
Mediation works best with only the parties involved and the mediator. You may have discussions with your spouse/significant other prior to, during and following mediation regarding the decisions you are making during mediation. If both parties agree or there is a Court Order a third party may be allowed to attend mediation with you.
What if I am uncomfortable being in the same room with the other party during mediation?
Mediation works best when both parties are able to meet with each other and share their thoughts and feelings in the presence of the mediator who strives to maintain a neutral environment. At any time during mediation, whether at the start of mediation, or during mediation, the parties always have the option to request a separate room. In that event the mediator will then share her time with each party and go back and forth between the two rooms to mediate. Contact us for a free consultation if you are unsure what to do in your situation.
What is included in the free initial consultation?
This is an opportunity for the mediator to gather information from each party regarding their situation, learn their goals for mediation, explain the mediation process to you, answer any questions you may have and help you prepare for mediation.
What if the other party doesn't agree to mediation?
You may ask for a Court Order for Mediation where the Judge will Order the parties to attend mediation prior to being heard by the Court.
How long does mediation take?
We schedule appointments in two-hour increments. The number of sessions needed is based on the cooperation of the clients and the number of issues that need to be addressed.
Can we attend mediation if there is a Protection Order in place against one of the parties?
Yes. If the mediator agrees after the initial consultations that there is not a safety issue to attend mediation we can still mediate. A Judge will need to grant an allowance to the protection order for the parties to attend mediation. The parties may be kept in separate rooms during mediation or attorneys may be present. Safety of all parties and the mediator are a top priority and the mediator reserves the right to decline mediation if safety is a concern.
Is mediation for me?
Mediation focuses on reducing tension, not increasing it. With the help of a mediator, parties negotiate their own settlement and learn techniques for resolving future differences. Mediation can work for anyone. You don’t have to already know how to cooperate to attend mediation. Mediators show people how to work together productively in spite of any anger or bad feelings. Contact us for a free consultation to see if mediation is right for you.