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Thank you, Bettsie, for helping our family relearn what being a family means.

Samantha and Jim
Palmer, Alaska

Innocent Victims of Divorce

Benefits of Mediation

10 Reasons to Mediate

Guide to Better Listening

Answers to Your Questions

Bettsie Wild

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Answers to Your Questions about Mediation

What is Mediation?

What Can I Use Mediation For?

When Can I Use Mediation?

Is Mediation For Everyone?

What if my Partner is Violent?

Is Mediation Confidential?

Do I Still Need an Attorney?

How is Mediation Started?

What is the Mediation Program Process?

How Long Does Mediation Take?

What happens at the End of Mediation?

What if I Don’t Use Mediation?

How Much Does Mediation Cost?

What is Mediation?

Mediation is the process of meeting with an impartial person, to work toward an agreement that is satisfactory to everyone involved. A mediator guides discussions, but does not take sides or make decisions. Mediation empowers the individuals to have a say in the outcome of the case and in their futures.

Creative Solutions for Families limits its practice to cases involving children.

Mediation aims to find a solution that meets the needs of you, your partner and children, and that you both feel is fair. At the end of mediation, you should feel that there has been no ‘winner’ or ‘loser,’ but that you have come to an arrangement that works for your family and that you can all live with.

Mediation can help to reduce tension, anger, and misunderstanding, and improve communication between you and your partner. This is especially important when you have children, because you will probably be co-parenting over their care and upbringing. Divorce ends your marriage, not your role as a parent.

The mediator helps the parents acknowledge their pain associated with a divorce without allowing those emotions to control the settlement procedure. Children always suffer when parents decide to divorce. The damage can be mitigated, however, when both parents remain focused on the best interests of their children.

What Can I Use Mediation For?

You can use mediation to help make decisions about any or all of the issues between you, including:

If you need to sort out arrangements for your children, the mediator will help the parties focus on what is best for them, and how and what you should tell them. The mediator will encourage you to concentrate on your children’s needs, and take into account their feelings and what they want when you are making arrangements for their future.

If you need to sort out financial arrangements, the mediator will ask you to fill in a form giving full details of:

If you do not give correct and complete information to the mediator, a court could overturn any agreement you make.

When Can I Use Mediation?

You can use mediation at any stage you feel it would help, whether you are:

You can use mediation whether or not you have an attorney, and whether or not you have started court proceedings.

Is Mediation For Everyone?

You can use mediation whether or not you are married and whether or not you have children.

Mediation is always voluntary. However, for mediation to work, both you and your partner both need to take part and neither of you should feel threatened or pressured by the other. It is also important that you are prepared to share information about your situation with each other.

Mediators do not act for just you or your partner. They are trained to act impartially without taking sides.

Mediation is only for parties who WANT to resolve their problems and find common ground that allows healthy and amicable co-parenting.

What if my Partner is Violent?

Mediators must make sure that mediation discussions are fair, and that you and your partner feel safe. So the mediator will check with each of you separately before mediation to see whether there is a problem of violence or abuse.

You can find names of organizations on our resources page that can help you if you feel you are at risk of violence from your partner.

The mediator reserves the right to not proceed with mediation should there be any sign of abuse or pressure on a party to participate in the mediation process.

Is Mediation Confidential?

What you say in mediation is normally confidential and the mediator will not pass on anything to anyone else unless both of you agree. However, there are two situations where information could be passed on:

What you say in mediation cannot be used in court later if the mediation breaks down. However, this does not apply to factual information that you give, such as details of your income or property. This can be used in any later court proceedings and passed to lawyers.

Do I Still Need an Attorney?

You may find it helpful to talk to an attorney before you start mediation so that you know where you stand legally, especially in regards to financial matters.

Mediators can give you general information about the law and how the legal system works. However, they cannot give you advice about your own legal rights or the best course of action for you. Parties may take the ending agreement to be reviewed by an attorney prior to filing any final paperwork with the court. Some parties may also take the ending agreement to an attorney for preparation of the final paperwork to be filed with the court.

How is Mediation Started?

Separation and divorce is never a positive experience. There is often dispute about personal and marital property, bank accounts, retirement, the fishing boat, and most importantly, the children. The usual outcome involves attorneys, tens of thousands of dollars and ending with a judge deciding what is best for your family, and your children.

The personal choice to mediate can come at the beginning of the process or during the heat of litigation. Creative Solutions for Families recommends parties speak to an attorney for personal advice on what their rights are, but then encourages parties to take control of the outcome of their case and experience the benefits of mediation.

When the parties decide they would like a say in their future and feel that with the help of an impartial person to guide the conversation, a common ground can be found to help them move forward with the rest of their lives, mediation is the answer. Together, assets are divided and a parenting plan is developed.

What is the Mediation Program Process?

Mediation takes place in a private and informal setting, with usually only the two of you and the mediator. The mediator is there to help both of you and to make sure that you and your partner:

The mediator will not tell you what to do and will not take sides but they can share ideas with you and help you to look at different solutions.

How Long Does Mediation Take?

Mediation usually lasts for between two and five sessions, each of about an hour and a half. However, the time it takes depends on how complicated your dispute is.

What happens at the end of mediation?

At the end of mediation, you will usually get a written summary of the decisions you have both made. This is not a legally binding document and you should still see an attorney before you commit yourself to a legal agreement or a court order.

Creative Solutions offers family follow-up plans where the mediator will be available to your family for a pre-designated period from six months to one year to help you through the initial period of trying to work with the co-parenting plan and schedule established at mediation.

Often smaller issues such as late arrival and return when transporting children or lack of communication regarding after school activities will grow and cause old habits of confrontation vs. communication to cause greater problems for the family. Follow-up services are available to work through these issues and help the family establish routine and experience positive co-parenting of their child(ren).

What if I Don’t Use Mediation?

You don’t have to use mediation to sort out arrangements for the future.

You can negotiate directly with your partner and reach agreement without any outside help.

You can retain an attorney to negotiate with your partner for you, either directly or through your partner’s attorney. Your attorney may still suggest that you try mediation to settle a particular problem between you.

You can apply to the court to settle your dispute for you. However, the court will encourage you to reach an agreement between yourselves if you can. If you have not already tried mediation, the court may suggest you do.

How Much Does Mediation Cost?

There is no standard fee for mediation. Different mediators charge different rates, usually by the hour. Creative Solutions for Families offers three price structures for our clients which provide different follow-up benefits. Contact us to discuss what option would work best for your family.