Frequently Asked Questions

Simply stated, mediation is a framed discussion guided by a trained neutral who strives to keep the discussion positive and productive. Mediators are not functioning as counselors, therapists, attorneys, social workers or advisors. Mediators are trained as facilitators to guide discussions, and focus conflict so that it can be productive and track progress and outcomes.

Mediators are trained to facilitate conversations and discussions all while remaining neutral. A mediator does not generally make suggestions or offer solutions. Instead a mediator will work with the parties and help the parties create their own solutions.

A mediator does not and can not give legal advice. Some mediators are also attorneys but when they are working as mediators they can not give any legal advice. Attorneys can train to be mediators and many have completed the training. Your current attorney could not realistically be neutral though as your mediator because they also represent you.

Mediation sessions often touch on areas that could or might require additional services such as therapy, social work or financial advisors. Mediators have resources and referrals available to help you if you need other professional assistance. Most divorces do not qualify as a cheap divorce. Too much is at stake to act without advice and guidance. For example, a divorce mediation process would involve professional assistance form attorneys, quite possibly a financial planner, a CPA for tax questions and implications, therapists working with the divorcing couple or the couple’s children if they have children, social services if the family has been involved receiving services and countless other professional capacities. Often complicated emotional and logistical concerns pepper child custody issues. Child custody mediation can be a major element of marital mediation sessions. Child custody mediation can also continue after a divorce has been finalized. The mediator incorporates all those providers and services together and helps the parties sift through all the information to make their best informed decisions.
Clean Slate Mediation walks with you through the mediation process and ensures both parties’ concerns are addressed and honored.

Mediation is a customized service fitted to each individual issue and participant. Clean Slate Mediation is committed to create a mediation session setting that is very comfortable for the parties both in the physical meeting space and also in the tone and pace of the mediation process. Just as no two piano teachers teach students exactly the same, no two mediators facilitate their sessions exactly the same way.

Mediation takes place in a private conference room with the mediator and participating parties present. There are no laptops or cell phones to create a disturbance or interruption. The mediator and the parties create an agenda for the session, agree to the goal for the session and simply begin to discuss, share and brainstorm toward the goal. The sessions generally last two hours but the length is very flexible. It progress is being made sessions may run longer, assuming both parties have the time available. Each mediation client is different and each session is different. Some clients will engage in a great deal of back and forth and be very emotional and responsive. Other clients may choose to speak just a few words and may not participate much at all. The mediator focuses equal attention on both parties, even though parties may have different communication styles. Some sessions can be very emotional and difficult; others can be very business like and factual. Some sessions conclude with a great sense of relief and closure. It depends entirely on the direction the parties choose. The mediator is trained to walk equally with parties through the entire process.

In mediation you are a full participant in the process and working toward a mutually determined goal. Each party focuses their attention on a mutually sustainable outcome, instead of their own interests only or even on a cheap divorce. After each mediation session each party will receive the exact same written summary from the session notes. Any change, corrections or discrepancies will be addressed at the next session.

In mediation you do not prepay a retainer. No action is taken or completed without your presence. No conversations or correspondence occur without you present. Instead in mediation you are a full participant in the process and working toward a mutually determined goal. The mediator in a sense represents the resolution as opposed to representing a single party.

Mediation is a pay-as-you-go service. You do not prepay a retainer to the mediator. No billable activity takes place without you present. At any time you may decide to discontinue working with Clean Slate Mediation and no other fees will apply.

The fee for mediation is $300.00 per hour. Mediation is a two hour session which means the session fee is $600.00. The session fee includes the summary report of the session, all my time outside of the session and any additional correspondence necessary. I do not collect a retainer or invoice you additionally. Typically both parties pay half of the fee however that is totally up to you.

I also offer a free telephone consultation previous to the physical meeting. I answer clarifying questions, outline the process, address concerns and provide feedback. There is no charge for the initial conversations.

We work with clients on two different rate levels depending upon your needs. First is through ongoing mediation. This is an option for more complicated cases such as divorce, custody issues, business transaction or any other conflict that may require multiple sessions.

The second option is dispute resolution. Dispute resolution applies to situations that may only require one or two sessions because they are less complex and more straightforward.

A mediator’s role is to remain neutral while guiding conversation and discussions forward to a common goal of the parties. A mediator can not provide legal advice. A mediator is not acting as a therapist or as a counselor either. Mediation is not about discussing the past and reworking over past problems. Instead mediation is about accepting the past and moving forward.

Yes. I will provide each party a summary and notes from each session. You are free to share those notations with your attorney.

Yes. Think through though whether you would be as successful at mediation if your attorney is present. The concept is for the affected parties to create their own solution. An attorney present can change that dynamic.

Every situation is different of course. The factors are often the number of identified issues or areas of conflict, commitment of the parties to the process, ability to schedule sessions and accepting an agreement. A rather straight forward divorce can be completed in a few sessions. Once the agreement has been designed I provide the parties with an Agreement Summary Statement for your review. Upon your review that agreement is then given by you to your attorneys who will file the appropriate paperwork to finalize the agreement with the court. Some issues do not require court action, others do.

Yes. Any conversations and discussion in a mediation session are confidential. One exception is abuse, either domestic violence or child abuse.

Yes, I accept Visa and MasterCard. I will also accept personal checks.

I will have a phone conversation with each party to highlight what mediation can provide, what are my expectations from participants, what participants expect from the mediator and the process and to answer any questions. I will send each party an initial packet of materials to review before the first session. The first session will identify areas of agreement and stability, points of disagreement, goals and targets. Assuming the parties desire to continue and feel the mediation has been a valuable experience, we will schedule another session.