How long is each mediation session?

Mediation sessions are normally scheduled for approximately 2 hours. However, the length of a session may be shorter or longer, depending on the complexity of the issues and the schedules of the parties.

Is it possible to schedule mediation sessions during evening hours or on weekends?

Yes. Many of my mediation sessions are scheduled on Saturday, Sunday or weekday evenings.

Where are mediation sessions held?

Mediation sessions can be held at the home or office of a party, in a private meeting room at a public library, at the State Bar of Wisconsin offices on the east side of Madison, or at any other private location agreed upon by the parties and the mediator.

How many sessions do you think our case would take?

Every case is different. Depending on the number and complexity of the issues and the degree to which the parties are able to work together, some disputes can be resolved within a few hours, while others take much longer. In most cases, parties are able to reach an agreement within 2 to 4 sessions.  I usually suggest that we meet once a week, but again, the schedule is flexible to meet your needs.

How much does mediation cost?

There is no charge for an initial consultation, up to one hour.  Fees for mediation services are billed at an hourly rate that is much lower than attorneys normally charge – please call or email me for my current billing rate.  Fees are billed only for session time and for preparation of the final mediation agreement.  Parties are expected to pay for each session at the conclusion of the session.  I do not charge for brief phone calls or e-mail communications, or for review of notes and other written materials in preparation for a session.  A reduced hourly rate is available for parties with limited incomes and assets or who otherwise demonstrate that the normal hourly rate would create a financial hardship.  If parties are unable to make full payment at the end of the session, payment is expected within 10 days.  Both parties are legally responsible for payment of these fees.  The parties are expected to share these costs equally, unless they work out a different arrangement between themselves.

During the mediation process, will you provide answers to my legal questions?

While I have a legal background, I believe it is inappropriate for me (or any mediator) to suggest what is in your legal best interests. Mediation is not a substitute for good legal counsel. An experienced family law or divorce attorney is usually the best person to provide you with good legal advice. I encourage parties to seek advice from attorneys whenever they feel it is appropriate, both during the mediation process and prior to signing their mediation agreement.

What do I need to do to prepare for my first mediation session?

At the beginning of the first mediation session, I will explain the mediation process, including the ground rules for each session, the goals of mediation, and my fees, and ask you to sign an Agreement to Mediate, acknowledging that you understand and agree to the ground rules, goals and fees. I will then ask each of you to describe the nature of your disputes, help you to identify the issues that need to be decided, and, time permitting, begin the process of helping you to understand each other’s needs, interests and concerns and to identify possible ways to resolve your issues.

During the first session, in addition to being prepared to describe the nature of your disputes, you should be prepared to fully disclose and discuss information about your current and future living situations, work schedules, relationships, and finances (incomes, assets and debts), your children’s schedules and relationships, and future plans for your children.

What do we do if we feel that mediation is not working?

Some participants may become angry or frustrated in the early stages of mediation, especially if they feel that the other party is being unreasonable or that the process is moving too slowly. However, before you decide that mediation isn’t working, it is important to ask me if I agree. In most cases, I am in the best position to evaluate your progress because I am a neutral third party and have probably been successful mediating situations similar to yours. If I agree that progress has stalled, I can often adjust the mediation process to address your concerns. And even if the parties reach an impasse on one or more issues, I will be able to draft a partial mediation agreement for you so that there are less issues remaining to be resolved by your lawyers or the court.