WHAT IS MEDIATION?

Mediation is a required step in many Iowa cases. You are required to attend at least one mediation session and to put a good-faith effort into resolving your issues before you can let a judge decide. Many parties prefer mediation because it allows them to be the decision-makers.

Divorce or separation of parents is the end of a marriage, not the end of parenting. It restructures a family from one household to two.

Children’s successful adjustment to divorce or separation often depends on the children’s safety, the level of cooperation between the parents, and the continued involvement of both parents in the lives of their children(unless safety is an issue).

In mediation a trained mediator helps you talk and listen to each other about what is important to you so you can have a useful conversation and, if possible, make your own decisions. A mediator is neutral and does not take sides. Mediators do not give you specific recommendations or legal advice.

Kathryn Davis is a trained mediator who can help you resolve your case before you go to the judge. Kathryn cannot be both your attorney and your mediator. If you need to complete mediation and are worried about costs, reach out to Kathryn about payment options and to determine whether you qualify for low-income services.

IF YOU MEDIATE, DO YOU STILL NEED AN ATTORNEY?



IF YOU MEDIATE, DO YOU STILL NEED AN ATTORNEY?

Mediation is not a substitute for legal advice.

WHAT ARE SOME ADVANTAGES OF MEDIATION?

  • It Has a Generally High Success Rate.
  • It’s Your Decision.
  • It’s Faster Than Court.
  • It is Often Less Expensive Than Court.
  • It May Improve Communication.
  • It Can Produce Lasting Agreements.

Although most people are doubtful before they start, two thirds of the couples who mediate reach agreement on some or all issues.

CHOOSING A MEDIATOR

Decide what you want from mediation: Do you want a mediator who will evaluate your case and steer you towards an agreement s/he thinks is best? Or, do you want a mediator who will help you communicate and make your own decisions?

Mediators have different styles and philosophies. Choose the kind of mediator that works best for you. Make a list of mediator names. Check the mediator roster at mediateiowa.org. It has important information about each mediator: their experience, training, fees, etc.

• Ask your friends & your attorney what mediators they recommend.
• Talk with some mediators.
• Call some mediators and ask how they see their role.

Which mediators sound like some-one you could work with and trust? Choose a mediator that is acceptable to both of you. Remember: Mediation is confidential. Mediators do not tell the court what happened in mediation, do not make recommendations to the court, and cannot be a witness if you go to trial.

HOW TO PREPARE FOR MEDIATION

  1. Make a list of all the issues you would like to discuss in mediation. This is your own work sheet, to help you organize your thoughts.
  2. For each issue, list what is important to you about it, what you want the other person to understand, and any concerns you have about it.
  3. Then, talk with your attorney. Ask what additional issues need to be decided
  4. Ask your attorney to explain the legal aspects of all of the issues.
  5. Ask the range of what the judge might decide on each issue in court and how much time and money that might take.
  6. Be sure you understand and have copies of any information you will need in mediation.

PLEASE NOTE: MEDIATION MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THE BEST CHOICE...


PLEASE NOTE:
MEDIATION MAY NOT ALWAYS BE THE BEST CHOICE...

If you've been court-ordered to attend mediation and believe you may qualify for a waiver, contact Kathryn about figuring out your options.

  • Mediation may not be appropriate when there has been physical or emotional abuse.
  • If you are concerned about your safety in mediation or afterwards, or
  • If you are concerned that you may not be able to say what you want because you are afraid of or intimidated by the other person
  • Please discuss this with a domestic violence professional at the Iowa Domestic Abuse Hotline: (800) 942-0333, and with your attorney and with the mediator before you attend any mediation sessions.
When there has been physical or emotional abuse, people can apply for a waiver from court ordered mediation. If the abuse has been discussed with the attorneys and mediator, and the people understand mediation and both want to mediate, mediation maybe appropriate if the mediator adapts the process. If there is a No Contact Order(NCO) and the person who asked for it wants to mediate, ask the court to modify the NCO to allow you to mediate. Agreements are not signed in session.

HOW DO CHILDREN AFFECT MEDIATION?

When you have children, there many things to consider when divorcing or separting, including:

  • Divorce or separation of parents is the end of a marriage, not the end of parenting. It restructures a family from one household to two.
  • Children's successful adjustment to divorce or separation often depends on the children's safety and (a) the level of cooperation between the parents, and (b) the continued involvement of both parents in the lives of their children (unless safety is an issue).
  • Where there has been violence, children's successful adjustment depends on first ending the violence in their lives.