FamilyMediationCenter.us

Family Mediation Center, Inc.
Mediating in the Best Interest of the Children
 
   Child Custody Parenting Plans - Focusing on the Children
   

 
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Mediation Overview

Family Mediation
Mediation involves bringing together disputing parents with a neutral third person, called a
mediator.  The mediator assists the parents in identifying issues, solutions and alternatives.
All decision-making authority rests with the parents; parents are not required to reach an
agreement.  The mediatorís objective is to help the parents reach a mutually acceptable
agreement on disputed issues: parenting arrangements, child support, property/debt division.

Mediatorís Objectives / Rules
  To help parents avoid the need for modifications and help parents to communicate better.
  To mediate a workable parenting plan agreement that is in the best interest of the
    children.
  To help parents avoid an expensive, long/bitter custody battle and the Court deciding the
     outcome.
  To provide insight on child arrangements: regular schedule, holidays, vacations, financial
    matters.
  Mediators do not provide legal advice, but can give legal information.
  Mediators will remain neutral with respect to any and all the issues pending in the
    divorce case.
  Mediators do not represent disputing parties.  Possible conflicts should be revealed to
    mediator/parties.
 
Mediators are not decision-makers, such as a judge/arbitrator.  Mediators will question
    decisions.

Mediation Sessions
Mediation sessions are normally scheduled for a 2 or 4-hour session and can take several sessions to complete. Not all issues in the dispute have to be settled in mediation, unsettled issues can be left for the Court to decide. Attorneys can attend or sustain from mediation sessions.  Your attorney should advise you if he/she should accompany you to some or all of the mediation sessions.  Your attorney should further advise you about mediation.

Confidentiality & Disclosure
Confidentiality: Everything said in mediation, by either parent and mediator is confidential.  The exception to the confidentiality rule is when child abuse first arises that was unknown or one party(s) threatens the other party with physical bodily harm.  If either of the two situations arise in the mediation session, it will be terminated.

Disclosure: Full disclosure of income, assets and debts is required.  (financial statements, income tax returns, etc.)

Attorneysí Presence
If you need your attorney present with you during mediation sessions, then by all means have your attorney present.  If one parent is going to have his/her attorney present, the other parent should have his/her attorney present; this will help to keep a balance.  Examples when to have your attorney present: other parent is abusive or overbearing, parent is depressed, complex issues, unsure, etc.  Parentsí attorneys will prepare and file the final agreement with the Court.

Mediatorís Report
Mediatorís Report to the Court: (1) Mediation was successful.  (2) Mediation was unsuccessful.  (3) Mediation was partially successful.  (4) Mediation is ongoing and will continue after an agreed upon child evaluation is completed.

Mediation Cost
Mediators charge by the hour; this time includes initial and final preparation time.  Mediatorsí hourly rates can/do vary from $50 to $225.  Some mediators use a sliding scale to help those parents that cannot afford regular rates.

Hourly rates are usually split between parents unless parents/attorneys make other arrangements prior to mediation.

 
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