Mediation involves a series of confidential meetings with the parents and any other significant parental figures to work out a mutually-agreeable, age-appropriate child custody schedule (parenting plan) that can be filed as a stipulated court order.
My approach emphasizes compromise and cooperation. I help the clients look for tradeoffs that benefit both sides as well as the children. I draw on my extensive experience to offer creative alternative solutions to specific custody problems. As appropriate, I include education in parenting, child development, communication, and conflict resolution.
Mediation usually lasts between four and ten meetings with an average of six. The meetings are usually weekly or bi-weekly, but can be more frequent if needed. The cost is usually between $1,500 and $5,000 with an average of $2,500, including the preparation of the stipulated order. We can usually get started within a few days if everyone cooperates. The initial retainer is usually enough to cover about two months of work and is renewable monthly.
It is sometimes helpful to complete the mediation in stages, especially for newly separated parents, parents with very young children, or cases where there has been a major crisis. The first stage can focus on a temporary or provisional agreement, which can usually be worked out fairly quickly and can bring some much-needed relief. The parents can “try out” this temporary plan for a few months and then return to complete a comprehensive plan.