FAQ 2017-05-23T15:21:26+00:00


Mediation? What is it?

Wondering what makes mediation different and if it will be good approach for resolving your challenge? Check out these helpful FAQs.

Still have questions? Let’s talk.

In Jefferson County, your Mediation referral has a date and time for your mediation. If that time does not work for you, please contact me immediately, and we will find a date that does work.

In Berkeley and other counties where the referral does not set your date, that is the first thing we do. I will contact both of you using the phone number on file with the court. If I don’t reach you, I will leave a voice message asking you to confirm your mailing address & asking for your email address. You can call me at (855) 475-0101 with that information, contact me through my web site, or email it to jeff@jeffmolendamediation.com.

Once I have contact information for both of you, I use email, if possible, to get a date & time set. Since court-referred mediations occur at the courthouse, we have to set those on weekdays, during court hours—usually 9 to 5.

In all counties, once a date & time are set, I will send you a confirmation letter with your mediation date & time, and an invoice for the mediation fees. I send the letter and invoice by regular mail, and as an email attachment.

Mediation hourly fees are set on a sliding fee schedule by the court. The confirmation letter will show you how the total fee was calculated—I set mediations for two hours, and there is a $25.00 admin fee. Mediation fees get paid in advance, by the date in the confirmation letter.

The invoice you get by email has a link that you can use to pay the fee securely on line, or it can be paid by check or money order sent to the address on the invoice. If you do not have a bank account, and cannot send a check or money order, let me know, and we will make arrangements for payment in advance.

In court-referred mediation, we work on living arrangements and allocation of parenting time for your children, as well as how you will make future decisions about your kids. We also decide how to resolve differences in the future.

As the date for your mediation approaches, you might want to write down things that you want to discuss with me & the other person in the mediation. Mediation is not court, so I don’t take evidence, or decide who is right or wrong, and I do not make decisions for you. In mediation, you and the other person make decisions about your children.

It is sometimes helpful to have information like school calendars at the mediation. If there are other papers you might want to refer to, you are welcome to bring those.

My job as a mediator is to help you have discussions about what arrangements will be best for your children, and to help clarify what is most important for them and you. The important thing about mediation is the the two of you are deciding, not a stranger.

You are not required to reach agreement in mediation, however agreements reached by parents are almost always better for everyone than an arrangement decided by somebody else. Nobody can get to know you & your family as well as you do in the time allotted for a court hearing.

If you have additional questions about your mediation, please email me, or contact me through my web site. I look forward to working with you both!

I continue to be available to mediate in litigated cases in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan, Hampshire, Hardy, Grant, Tucker and Pendleton counties, and elsewhere upon request.  Please feel free to contact me if I can help in any way.

In some cases, such as divorce, you may need to go to court to have your mediation agreement adopted as a Court Order. In other cases, such as a business dissolution, or a disagreement between neighbors, you may not have to go into court at all.

Mediation works great for conflicts which are not appropriate for court, or which courts might handle, but the parties have decided NOT to go to court. Just call, or email, and I can help you get started.

Because you decide how to resolve any dispute, it gets decided on what matters to you. You can decide based on what is fair, on what is practical, and on what is best for everyone involved. If you give the decision process over to a judge or jury, they will decide, based only on “the law.”

In mediation, you won’t get taken advantage of by the process, the other party or the mediator.

In mediation, you can decide on an outcome that preserves relationships, past & future, if that is important to you.

My basic rate is $165 per hour. If you are court-ordered to Family Mediation, the Court entering the order sets my rates, and that is what I charge. For some projects, it may make sense to charge a flat fee for the project, or per phase of the project. If you have questions in that regard, contact me, and we will try to work something out.
In general, what happens in mediation is confidential. In some instances, the product of mediation, like a parenting plan in a divorce case will become part of a court order in the case, but even there, the discussions between the parties are confidential.
Sometimes it is best for you to contact the other party. In other cases, I can invite them into the process. Contact me, if you are not sure, and we can make that decision after consultation.
Whether a mediation has joint meetings or separate meetings is up to both the mediator, and the parties. My process, particularly in divorce, custody, and some other types of family and business disputes is to do most of our work in a joint meeting. There is an opportunity to meet privately, if there is something you wish to discuss confidentially. And if there are reasons to meet separately, like a power imbalance, or a previous history, we can certainly explore that before the actual mediation session starts. In most mediations, I have a conference call with the parties and/or their attorneys, where it is appropriate to bring up these concerns.
The people involved in mediation make their own decisions as to how the dispute will be resolved. This is a key element in mediation and the collaborative process. I will help you develop multiple possible solutions, and will help you in evaluating those possible choices. The final decision as to what choice you make belongs to the people involved. Here are some possible bases for making decisions in mediation and the collaborative process:

  • A sense of fairness
  • The needs and interests of the parties
  • The needs and best interests of your children
  • “The law” and its underlying principles
  • Prior agreement
  • Practical and economic realities
  • Previous relationships & future relationships
  • Other
In mediation (and in the collaborative process) there is time and space for you to express yourself, and voice your concerns. This process belongs to the people involved, not the mediator. As a result, your voice is heard and it counts, in a way that it might not in a lawsuit.
Agreements reached in mediation, because they are agreed to by all the parties, are far more likely to be kept than conditions imposed by others, such as courts. And in many instances, we can build a problem-solving process into a mediation agreement, such as going back to mediation, or consulting with a trusted third party.
While for many people, the reason to mediate is get a problem resolved, you ARE NOT required to reach an agreement in mediation. Sometimes mediation is the start of a longer process to resolve a dispute–in that case, maybe getting clear, direct communication started might be necessary first step where mediation can help.
No. When you mediate, or engage in a collaborative process, you maintain control of the process. Unlike court, where the decision gets made for you by a judge or jury, you and the other person involved in mediation or collaboration make the decisions.
There is room in mediation for expression of strong feelings and even anger, but that should not make the other person intimidated. I have been trained to deal with those situations, by using skills I have learned. Sometimes short private meetings, or even individual sessions are needed to make everyone comfortable with the joint meeting process.
Yes. If you are represented by an attorney who is advising you in a dispute, your attorney is welcome at mediation. In some situations, like court-ordered family mediations, attorneys generally do not attend. In some instances, you may decide to not have your attorney present, but to consult before the mediation, or arrange to have your attorney available for telephone consultation during the mediation. Please speak with your attorney about these alternatives. Please understand that I want you both to be comfortable with the process and that I encourage parties who are mediating a disagreement to consult with counsel when you feel the need to do so.
If you have an attorney at mediation, I want you to talk to your attorney in advance about speaking at mediation. I strongly encourage you to feel free to participate in the discussions at mediation. Most importantly because this is your dispute, and mediation is aimed at resolving the dispute in a way that works for all involved. You can make your needs known, and get them addressed, by speaking up. Mediation is confidential, so that what is said in mediation doesn’t leave–for instance if you are in a lawsuit, and you say something in mediation about a possible resolution, but ultimately do not resolve the dispute, what you said cannot be used outside the mediation. One other very important aspect of speaking in mediation is that this is a safe place for you to talk directly to the other person in the dispute, to make your feelings and needs and interests known.

Let me help move you forward.

Call me at (855) 475-0101 or contact me with my online form.