Waterloo Mediation Attorney
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution that involves both parties coming together in an effort to resolve conflict outside of the family court system. In Black Hawk County, mediation is mandatory in family law cases, however, while the parties must agree to try to resolve their dispute through mediation, they may suspend mediation or withdraw at any time.
If you believe your marriage is ending and you wish to file for divorce, if you are concerned about issues of child custody or support, or if you are navigating any other family law matter, Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C. can help. Attorney Jennifer L. Chase is a trained and certified family law mediator who can help you understand the process, as well as your various legal options. Here, we’ve provided some helpful information on mediation in Iowa, but we strongly recommend that you schedule a consultation with our Waterloo mediation lawyers to learn how the process may unfold for you. Every case is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Contact us online or call our office at (319) 220-0416 today to request your free and confidential consultation. We provide representation in Waterloo, Iowa City and throughout the rest of the state.
What Are the Benefits of Mediation?
When successful, mediation offers a number of significant benefits. First and foremost, successful mediation allows you to avoid going to trial and having an impartial judge rule on the various aspects of your divorce. This can save you a great deal of stress and emotional energy, not to mention time and (in many cases) money.
Mediation also allows you to maintain familial relationships, as the process involves collaborating and coming to mutually beneficial agreements tailored to your unique family. This can be especially powerful in cases involving children and child custody.
Additionally, in mediation, both parties and their attorneys meet with a neutral third-party facilitator who helps expedite communication and compromise between the parties. This allows both parties to present their stories, communicate their wishes, and work together to find a favorable resolution.
Iowa Mediation FAQs
At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., we understand that the Iowa mediation process can be somewhat daunting. In order to help illuminate what is involved in the process, we have provided answers to common questions we receive about mediation. Continue reading to find helpful information you can use to prepare for mediation, or contact us directly to speak to a mediation attorney in Waterloo about your options today.
Q:Before signing a mediation agreement, can I have my attorney review it?
A:Yes, your attorney should review the mediation agreement with you and answer any questions that you may have.
Q:How do I schedule an appointment for mediation and how much does it cost?
A:To schedule an appointment please call our office at (319) 220-0416 to speak with the pre-mediation coordinator and provide the requested information. If we are unavailable to speak with you, please leave a voicemail message, including your name, phone number and a good time to return your call, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. After speaking with the pre-mediation coordinator, you may download the Personal Data and Information Form. The cost of a minimum two-hour mediation appointment is $165 per participant ($330 total for two hours). If you choose to schedule for more than the two-hour minimum appointment, each additional hour is available at the rate of $82.50 per hour per participant ($165 total per hour).
Q:What information do I need when scheduling my appointment?
A:We will need to know your name, address, phone numbers (cell, home, work); your attorney's name, phone and fax numbers; the county in which the case has been filed; the case number (located in the upper right section of your legal documents, usually beginning with CDDM, DRCV, LA, or EQ, followed by some numbers), and if you plan to have your attorney attend.
Q:Can I schedule for both sides of the mediation?
A:Yes; you will need to have the others party's information (see FAQ #1). You will also have to have the other party call into our office and confirm that you have permission to schedule for both. This can be beneficial in getting appointment times arranged.
Q:Should I schedule for more than a three-hour appointment?
A:Depending on the issues, mediation can take one to several sessions. At the beginning of the first session, we will spend a short amount of time discussing the mediation process and discussing which issues you and the other party would like to resolve first. If you and the other party are communicating, more can be accomplished with more time. You may schedule a longer mediation appointment or a follow-up session, but the choice is up to you.
Q:Can we go longer than our scheduled appointment?
A:Usually there is an appointment scheduled immediately following your set appointment. But, if there is not another appointment after you, you may go longer. The additional time must be paid in full at the end of the mediation session and will be charged at the rate of $82.50 per hour per participant ($165 total per hour).
Q:Can I schedule for more than one session?
A:Yes, this is encouraged when matters remain unresolved and are usually scheduled following a previous session.
Q:What happens if I cancel my mediation appointment?
A:If you must cancel your appointment, cancellation must be made at least 48 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment or you each will forfeit your half of the total mediation fee.
Q:What should I bring with me to mediation?
A:Bring with you any documents, legal pleadings, calculations, prior agreements, drawings, photographs, appraisals, etc. that would be helpful to illustrate your position.
Q:Can my attorney attend the mediation with me?
A:Yes, but is not necessary, particularly if you are participating in a regular mediation session. On the other hand, having attorneys at facilitated settlement sessions and arbitration may be helpful or necessary. If you do choose to have your attorney accompany you to mediation, please contact your attorney and they will advise you in this matter. If your attorney will be accompanying you, please let us know.
Q:What happens before the mediation session?
A:After making an appointment, you will be sent a letter confirming your appointment and asking you to complete the two-page Personal information and Data Sheet. The completed Personal Data and Information Sheet needs to be received by our office at least three business days prior to your mediation session, along with a check or exact cash for your one-half share of the cost for mediation.
Q:Does the mediator take sides in the dispute?
A:No; the mediator provides a non-adversarial environment for the participants to work together with the mediator to explore alternative ideas and ways to reach agreement. The mediator is a neutral facilitator working to create a positive atmosphere conducive to settlement for all parties.
Q:Can mediation involve more than two parties?
A:Yes, however, it is better to limit those attending to those directly involved and not spectators or support people. Please advise us if you desire to have someone other than your attorney attend mediation with you.
At Ball, Kirk & Holm, P.C., our Waterloo mediator can mediate all types of family law disputes, including but not limited to all property division and custody matters related to a dissolution of marriage, child custody or visitation, and modifications of custody and support.