In parenting plan matters, YES. In other family law matters, mediation may be required prior to going to trial, in order to shorten the time of the trial by clarifying the issues. That saves you attorney fees for your lawyers and time away from work.
By Phone with Fred Aronow @ (509) 496-9714, who will request that you send him an email request for mediation information and available dates. Mr. Aronow will ask that you copy the other party on the request email so his response will be to both parties, promoting transparency and neutrality by the mediator. The email should summarize the reason for the mediation and include the case number, and identify any attorneys involved in your case. Both parties must agree on a date/time before I can firmly schedule a session. Sessions are scheduled in a neutral site such as hotel conference rooms or attorney offices.
NO, but you CAN bring your attorney if you feel you need one for an informal and confidential session. The object of the mediation will be to negotiate and sign off on a mediation agreement that would be binding on both parties. It is not unusual for attorneys to send their clients to me to resolve Parenting Plan issues personal to the parents for them to resolve, saving the parties attorney fees for issues the parents should resolve on their own facilitated by the mediator.
Nothing but a sincere desire to resolve the issues presented. Any documents that provide current information, such as asset and liability balances, lists of personal (non real estate) property such as vehicles, recreational and professional equipment, collectors items, retirement account balances and art items of value will be helpful. Do not bring in long lists of household items except those in dispute.
Normally only the parties on their own or with their attorneys, if any. Anyone else, such as current spouses (stepparents), fiance’s, girlfriends, boyfriends, grandparents are excluded UNLESS there is agreement by the parties to include any third party. Knowing that current spouses, for example, are involved as stepparents in raising children of the parties, their presence can be useful for the benefit of the children. Both parties must agree to include any third party, who will also sign the required confidentiality agreement for all attendees, including the mediator.
I bill my time at $200 hour for actual time in mediation, preparation and drafting a mediation agreement, kept to the nearest quarter hour. You will not be billed for phone calls or travel time.
PAYMENT OF FEES: Mediation fees are payable immediately AFTER THE SESSION in CASH or by PERSONAL CHECK. Credit cards not accepted.