What is mediation?
You may find yourself in a situation where you are involved in a civil action (such as a divorce, paternity action, etc) and are considering hiring an attorney to argue your side of the case through the legal system. In order to retain an attorney, you are looking at potentially thousands of dollars up front to retain him or her as well as an undetermined timeline in which your life will essentially be on hold.
Mediation is a process wherein you and the other party to the action come together in a neutral location in order to find solutions to your issues outside of a courtroom. In a client-centered mediation approach, the mediator works with both parties in the same room to help you find your own creative solutions to the issues raised. We know that clients know best, not Courts, as to what is right, what is fair and what will work for them in finding a solution to their issues.
How is mediation different from litigation?
In mediation, we try to end the “battle mentality” that goes along with litigating a divorce. In litigation, both parties hire attorneys who argue either side’s case to a Judge, who makes the final decision as to who gets what, when, and how. In litigation, the outcome of your case and the future of your life is put in the hands of a person who most likely has never met you before and will only know what little they can gather together from the fog of paperwork submitted by your attorneys.
Mediation allows both parties to come together in a neutral place in order to find creative solutions for how you will move forward in life. Decisions are made together, and guided by your skilled mediator, for the best possible outcome for you and your family.
Why choose mediation?
Divorce and other civil actions can be costly – both emotionally and financially. We strive to lower both of those costs for our clients by helping them be the ultimate decision makers for their lives and futures. Costs are shared equally by parties in order to lower the financial burden that unfortunately comes along with civil disagreements.
When choosing mediation, you are choosing to be in control of your future and limiting your exposure and that of your family to the legal system, which can be devastating (financially and emotionally) to those who choose that route.
What is the process?
If both parties to a civil action are interested in using mediation to resolve their differences, the first step is to call the office so that staff can set you up for an orientation appointment. In the orientation, each party will separately meet with the mediator to discuss their case. Once both orientation appointments are complete, staff will schedule the joint mediation session, which will be with both parties together with the mediator.
How much will it cost?
Fees for mediation services include a professional hourly fee of $200 per hour which is split equally by the parties. The same professional hourly fee is charged for the mediator’s work outside of the mediation sessions for correspondence via mail, fax or e-mail, discussions with parties, their counsel, or with other persons concerning matters related to the mediation case. When applicable, if your mediator travels to meet you, travel time, airfare, lodging and parking fees will be charged to you. Again, this hourly fee is split equally by parties and is due within thirty (30) days of remittance of invoice. You will receive an Agreement to Mediate for each of you to sign before orientations are conducted.
Do I need an attorney?
As a neutral third party, your mediator will not give legal advice to either party involved. While hiring an attorney is technically not required, navigating the court system (post-mediation) can be a difficult task for an untrained party. Having an attorney available to guide you through that system is highly recommended.
Who should utilize the mediation process?
Anyone involved in any civil action is eligible to use our services for mediation, however we mainly deal in family law cases such as divorces and paternity issues. You can call my office at any time to discuss your case with my staff and we will be happy to help you decide if mediation is right for you.
Will mediation work if there has been domestic violence?
Domestic violence is a serious issue that can impede people from considering mediation as an appropriate path in order to end a difficult marriage or to come to a parenting time arrangement for children born of a relationship. LaRoy Baird has over 30 years experience in litigating divorces in North Dakota, many of which involved domestic violence. It is this experience that makes him uniquely sensitive to this issue and qualifies him to help parties with a past in domestic violence find a path to the future through mediation.
The client-centered mediation application that he employs serves to empower his clients to reach agreements that will transform their relationships, preserve their integrity and focus on their best interests. Please contact his office at anytime to discuss this very serious issue as it relates to your case. He will discuss his safety devices and plans that will allow you use mediation in a safe and secure environment.