We have mediated thousands of cases in matters large and small. Examples of disputes we have mediated include: divorce, property distribution, custody issues, alimony, child support, sale of the marital home, disagreements between parents about child rearing issues, disputes on interpretation of the legal Decree, visitation problems, lack of communication between parents, disputes involving partners, co-habitation, disputes between businesses, families dealing with elderly parents, and all types of civil matters including automotive manufacturers, insurance companies, and persons injured in automobiles and on the job.
What is mediation?
Although we are experienced attorneys, our mediators do not act like a judge making a decision for the parties about how to resolve their differences. Instead, we lead the discussion making sure all issues are discussed thoroughly and helps the parties to understand each others’ positions. We are “in favor of” BOTH parties and our goal is to help the parties come to a resolution that works for both of them. The mediator helps the parties explore possible solutions and may offer ideas for discussion. Our mediators are very experienced, Kim has been mediating since 1987.
What is the mediator’s role?
We are experienced attorneys serving as mediators. We lead the discussion making sure all issues are discussed thoroughly and help the parties to understand each others’ positions. We are “in favor of” BOTH parties and our goal is to help the parties come to a resolution that works for both. The Compassionate Alliance will help the parties explore possible solutions and may offer ideas for discussion.
What if the mediator has an opinion about what should happen?
A good mediator not only helps the parties see things from the other person’s vantage point, she can help the parties consider issues and consequences they may have overlooked. The mediator may review ideas or possible outcomes with the parties to help them determine if the solutions are really workable. However, it is the parties, not the mediator, who have control over whether they agree to a settlement or not because the parties walk away with a clearer understanding of their differences and expectations.
Do I need a lawyer, or can the mediator do the legal work too?
Parties may come to mediation with or without their attorney. If they come with their attorney, they need to rely on their attorney for legal advice. If they come without an attorney they need to realize that the mediator can give them legal information but we cannot provide legal advice. The parties can agree to a resolution of their differences with the mediator and then take their agreement to an attorney to review and to draft the legal documents. Due to ethical restraints placed on lawyers in Iowa acting as mediators, the mediator cannot serve as a mediator and then serve as a lawyer to the parties filing documents on their behalf.
What if we don’t resolve our differences?
If your matter is not resolved you can still go to court. Because the process is confidential, the mediator does not testify as to what went on in the mediation. We may, however, tell the judge that you had a final agreement if one is reached at the mediation and if one of the parties tries to back out of a signed agreement. Many feel that a mediation session has great value whether an agreement is reached or not, because parties walk away with a clearer understanding of their differences and expectations.
What are the benefits of mediation?
Parties in a mediation can speak like normal people about the fears and concerns they have about the issues in conflict. Unlike court where the judge only hears evidence as it is skillfully presented by trained lawyers, in a mediation we just discuss problems like “regular people”. We may have the parties meet together or in separate private sessions, based on their comfort level.
What is the cost of mediation?
Parties pay for mediation at the conclusion of the session. If the case is a family law case in Polk County, there may also be administrative fees applied by the District Court Mediation program. The fees are each paid 1/2 by each party, unless the parties agree otherwise.
How long does it usually take?
Mediations can last a few hours or for a full day or days. They can be in single or multiple sessions. The average mediation lasts about 3-4 hours. For divorce, when the parties are not attending with an attorney, The Mediator may schedule 2-hour sessions one or two weeks apart until the parties have achieved settlement or conclude maximum benefit has been reached.
What if I want to schedule a mediation or ask other questions?
Simply contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org.