Professional mediation is much more desirable than going to court to resolve your divorce, custody, or other family law case. If both parties are willing to pursue a fairminded settlement, I suggest that you hire me not as your lawyer, but as an impartial mediator. I can explain the mediation process in a free consultation, but to avoid an appearance of bias, we will wait until we are in mediation to discuss the details of your case. Review all information on this webpage so you understand the benefits of mediation, and Invite the other party to review it too. If you can both agree to have me mediate your case before either of you hires a lawyer to fight things out in court, you'll already be half-way to a fairminded resolution of your case.
By choosing my mediation services, you can avoid the conflict, stress, long delays, uncertainty, and enormous expense of court litigation. If you have children, using mediation protects them too from the prolonged conflict and stress of litigation. When you reach your own settlement agreement you are less likely to have future conflicts than with a court-imposed solution (and the court solution you get may not be what either party wanted). If future issues do arise, you will have laid the foundation for how to solve them and you can schedule another mediation if needed. (Even if your mediation only results in a partial agreement, that can still significantly simplify what remains for the court to resolve, thereby significantly reducing the expense, delays, and other negative aspects of litigation.)
In almost all cases (cases involving serious allegations of domestic abuse is sometimes an exception), the court will require the parties to attempt mediation before the case can go to trial. It just makes sense to attempt mediation as soon as both parties are open to the possibility of working toward a fairminded settlement agreement. Most cases do settle eventually. Some people just have to suffer thousands of dollars in legal expenses before opening up to the possibility of fairminded settlement negotiations. Let me get you there before you have to spend thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees.
As your mediator, I will help structure, facilitate, and referee your settlement negotiations. I will help keep you on track, answer your questions, and suggest solutions based on my years of experience as a family law attorney in Utah. However, as I help guide you to your settlement, I will not take sides, nor give legal advice.
The short answer is yes. Under Utah law, I cannot be called to testify as a witness in your divorce or other family law case regarding statements made or information discovered during mediation. If one of the parties at mediation tries to testify regarding statements made at mediation, the court will sustain an objection to that testimony (won't allow the testimony). This allows both parties to put all their cards on the table for the best chance of a successful mediation. However, there may be sensitive information that a party chooses not to disclose to the other party. While I encourage disclosure of information, in my role as mediator anything that either party requests me to keep confidential from the other party, I will keep confidential.
Mandatory, legally required reporting to the police or to DCFS of child abuse, or abuse of an elderly or incompetent person that has not already been reported is an exception to the rule of confidentiality. I am required to report such abuse. If a discussion of such abuse may come up, I much prefer that you report it yourself, prior to mediation, if it has not already been reported.
Mediation may take place via Zoom, or at my office. Either way, we can meet all together, or separately, with me shuttling back and forth between the parties. Typically, I like to begin mediation together for instructions and ground rules (though we can do that separately if requested). Than we separate so that each party can comfortably express to me their goals and concerns without unnecessarily upsetting the other party. As the mediation progresses, I will use my professional judgment regarding whether and when to suggest we all come together again. However, we will continue seperated during mediation, unless both parties agree to come back together.
You should come to mediation prepared to pay your half of the mediation fee at the commencement of mediation. You should also bring (or email me) a completed form(s) that you will be provided by me, in advance of the mediation, such as financial delaration forms. You will be provided with mediation instructions and any forms you need to complete after your free initial phone consultation.
My mediation fee for a half-day mediation (up to 4 hours) is $500. A full day meditation (up to 7 hours) is $750. Each party pays 1/2 of the mediation fee. Flat rate mediation helps keep parties committed and focussed on the issues that need to be resolved, instead of giving up when we face obstacles, or being distracted by the clock racking up additional fees. This is much less expensive than each party hiring an attorney to litigate the case in court (and, if you need financial help to resolve your case, you will likely find family more willing to help pay a flat-fee to pay on-going hourly legal fees for a court battle). You should choose your meditation duration based on the complexity of issues in dispute, as well as the level of conflict or other communication issues you think might require my assistance.
After your successful mediation, if you want your settlement agreement to become an enforceable court order, I can draft your settlement agreement and all other necessary court documents, for a separate flat fee. Having successfully completed your mediation, I will already have an understanding of your case, and so I can typically prepare all of your necessary documents for a flat fee of $500.00, which may be divided equally between the parties (unless you agree to a different division of the expense at mediation).
I can answer most of your questions based on my experience, without giving you legal advice, which some parties find sufficient. But, if you desire legal advice, you can keep your mediated agreement tentative and unsigned, and then hire your own attorney for a simple consultation to review your unsigned agreement. With a tentative agreement in-hand, you can get meaningful and specific legal advice in your consultation with an attorney of your choosing, rather than the general and generic advice you might otherwise get in a typical initial consultation, so that you'll be able to feel confident in your agreement before signing it.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER NOTICE
Nothing on any page of this website is intended as legal advice, nor as a promise nor offer to provide services. Every case is different, and the information provided on a web page is general and may not apply to your case. Information provided in free initial consultations similarly is not intended as legal advice for your case. You must hire this attorney's services by written contract and payment, in order to receive legal advice or any other legal services.
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