Divorce, disputes over child custody and decisions regarding eldercare can be incredibly painful for families. Samaritan Family Mediation Services, a division of The Samaritan Counseling Center, is here to help them navigate the legal, financial, and emotional issues involved.
An experienced mediator operates as a “go-between” for both parties, to help reach an agreement that is fair and in the best interest of the family as a whole. The mediator does not “represent” either party nor act as an attorney on either party’s behalf.
Benefits of Mediation
- Less expensive than prolonged litigation and trial
- Less time-consuming than litigation, sometimes requiring only one or two sessions to reach settlement
- Final agreement is legally enforceable, after being approved and signed by court
- Avoids embarrassing, stressful and adversarial court trial
- Easier on parties and less stressful for children
- Parties are more likely to follow agreement they created themselves
Both parties are encouraged to have an independent attorney participate in the mediation sessions, as well as review any agreement before it is signed and filed with the court.
Length of Mediation Service
Each mediation session is generally two hours, with two to three sessions needed for resolution, depending on circumstances. Either party may choose to terminate mediation at any point and seek other options. Court-ordered mediation takes place within a schedule set by the court.
Mediation Service Fees
- Based on professional services rendered, billed at hourly rate
- Initial telephone consultation free of charge
- Mediation costs $200.00 per hour
- Office consultation fee is $100.00 per hour
- Each party receives and signs fee agreement before services are rendered
Samaritan Family Mediation Services complies with all federal and state confidentiality laws. In addition, negotiation discussions during mediation may not be used by or against either party in a later court proceeding.
Mediation can result in a complete agreement, a partial agreement or no agreement. When an agreement is reached, drafted, reviewed and signed by the parties, it is presented to the court to be signed by a judge and becomes a final order.
Divorce can be an expensive and lengthy process, but mediation allows spouses – whether considering a divorce or already having started the process – to create a mutually agreeable divorce settlement through negotiation and communication. It may demonstrate to their children that their mother and father can cooperate as parents. Divorce mediation services include:
- Pre-divorce consultation
- Divorce mediation sessions
- Custody, co-parenting and visitation mediation
- Settlement agreement preparation
- Parenting plan coordination
- Family-centered financial planning
When family members disagree on how best to care for an elderly parent, mediation can help arrive at an agreement. With our elder mediation service, our policy is to promote and protect the autonomy and dignity of elderly family members – and to recommend the least restrictive options available to safely care for an elderly loved one’s best interests.
Mediation sessions may or may not involve the elder person concerned, depending on physical condition, competency, mental status and other relevant factors. The family members engaged in the process will be present, as well as any representative of the elder person involved, if he or she cannot attend. All parties are encouraged to seek outside counsel with an attorney, accountant, estate planner, or other professional before any legal action is taken. Every person’s legal rights must be protected at all times, regardless of age, physical or mental condition. This mediation service addresses issues including:
- Guardianship and/or conservatorship
- Living will and advance health care directives
- Assisted living decisions
- Home health care decisions
- Legal competency
- Elder abuse and neglect
- Wills and estates
- Safety concerns – driving, medication management, using the stove, etc.