What kinds of situations can be mediated?
Just about any kind of conflict can be mediated.
Examples are disagreements with a neighbor, roommate, co-worker or spouse. Conflicts
about a contract—do you and a carpenter not agree on the bill? Is your small business
partnership breaking up? Facing a divorce? Mediation can help you divide assets and
money owed. It can help you decide how to raise your children while living apart.
We do not get along. Does mediation really work?
Mediation really works. If you got along, you would have settled your problem by yourselves.
I will create a setting where you will be listened to, perhaps for the first time during
this dispute. I will help you work through the issues one at a time, find points of agreement,
and create new ones. Even through intense emotions, I will keep you and the other party
focused. This process helps you see the problem more objectively, and leads to more
creative, thoughtful and fair solutions.
Who should not mediate?
If there is a history of abuse or emotional intimidation between you and the other party, it may be better to go through the court system.
However, if you think mediation is your best choice, we can set up safeguards such as meeting in separate rooms, with the mediator going back and forth, having a friend or advocate with you, or arriving and leaving at different times, so you will not see each other.
How long will mediation take?
That depends on you.
Typically, in a divorce mediation, we will meet in two hour sessions spread over several weeks or months. Some couples reach agreement on an entire divorce in three sessions, while others need two hours to settle a single issue.
If several family members are coming together, we are more likely to have one or two longer meetings.
How can I prepare for mediation?
Be as clear as you can about what you want, and come to the table with ideas about solutions that will work for everyone.
Be open, fair and honest.
Turn your complaints into requests. Think about wording those requests in a way the other can hear.
If your conflict is with someone you will be dealing with in your future–a co-parent, employer, landlord or neighbor—mediation will help you resolve your differences without destroying the relationship.
Compared to a lawsuit, mediation is quick, fair and inexpensive. It allows you to craft solutions that fit your unique situation; solutions not possible in a courtroom. You stay much more in control of the process.
Will I still need an attorney?
I will strongly encourage you to invest in 1-4 hours with an attorney before signing a long term agreement. You may choose to have your attorney with you during your mediation or consult with him or her afterward.
Usually the parties split the cost equally. Sometimes one will pay more than the other because of different financial circumstances. I prefer that everyone pays something, so that each person has ownership of the process.
Where are you located?
My office is at 314 N Last Chance Gulch, Suite 202, in downtown Helena, Montana.
I travel to out of town mediations in Western Montana, and also meet with people by phone, Skype and email.