Scheduling an Appointment
Office hours are 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Evening appointments available by special arrangement.
The initial appointment consists of one hour of introductory information and discussion of the process. You may schedule a two-hour initial appointment, with a one-hour mediation session immediately following the introductory time, or a one-hour introductory appointment only. After the first hour, either person may choose to end the session if mediation does not appear to be the right process. The first hour is free; the fee for any further time is $200 per hour. Clients decide between themselves who will be responsible for the fee, but payment is required at the time of each appointment.
You may schedule an appointment by calling or through Linda’s calendar or call 503-232-8550. If you call and and are connected to voice mail, press “1” to hear Linda’s availability for the current week. Please leave a message with your requested day and time, as well as your full name and contact information.
Getting Ready for Your Appointment
Once you have scheduled an appointment, you might want to look over the following forms. Depending on how far along you are in gathering information or making decisions, you might be ready to print out and fill in some of these forms.
- Confidentiality Agreement – This agreement describes what is confidential in mediation and what is not. This form is reviewed and signed at the beginning of the introductory mediation session.
- Agreement to Mediate – This agreement describes what you can expect from each other and the mediator and what the mediator expects from you. This form is reviewed at the beginning of the introductory mediation session, but you do not sign it unless you decide to proceed with mediation after the introductory session.
- New Client Information – This form asks for the basic information the mediator will need once you start the process.
- Budget – This form will help you look at your current financial situation and plan for the future. Also available in MSExcel Spreadsheet form.
- Asset Checklist – This form will help you to gather the critical documents you will need to bring to mediation and share with the other person and so you can fully discuss your assets and debts.
- Holiday Checklist– This form will help you to plan for special days in making your parenting time schedule.
“I’m so very glad we started by talking to you so the process remained cordial instead of adversarial. It’s easy to start to feel bitter and unhappy when in the land of broken dreams which is divorce, but you kept us focused and working as team to accomplish an unpleasant task.” – JD
How Much Will Mediation Cost?
Your first hour is free. The hourly rate after the first hour is $200 per hour. In the fee agreement, clients agree to how the cost will be paid between themselves. Payment is required at the end of each session.
Typically, sessions are two hours. Clients can meet as frequently or infrequently as they desire. The typical pattern is every two weeks.
Less complex cases and ones where the couple already have reached agreement on a number of issues may take only 2 or 3 sessions with 2 hours of drafting time, for a range of $1,000 – $1,500. For a full divorce mediation with child and property issues where most of the issues are not resolved, an average number of sessions is 4 to 6, with an additional 3 hours outside of the session for drafting the agreement and session summary letters, for an estimated total cost of $1,800 – $2,500. After I talk with you in the first hour, I will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of your mediation fees.
After mediation is completed and an agreement is signed, the legal papers need to be prepared by the clients or by an attorney or paralegal they hire.
The court charges a filing fee to file the legal papers. For divorce or separation or a parenting plan for unmarried parents, the fee is around $287 in the Portland Metropolitan area. If you have children, you will each need to attend a mandatory parent education class.
How does this compare to attorney costs?
It is difficult to estimate how much it will cost to have attorneys work out an agreement as compared to mediation. Attorneys who advertise a fixed rate for an uncontested divorce will be comparable to the less complex mediation quote above. But that service does not include any assisted negotiations between the attorneys (or assisted discussions between the two of you) at all.
If you are not in complete agreement, an attorney will charge according to an hourly rate. Generally, family law attorneys charge $200-$3000 per hour and up, and both clients pay their attorney this amount rather than sharing the cost of one professional. Depending on whether there is a lot of back-and-forth negotiation, the fee might be $2,000 – $3,000 each, for a total of $4,000 – $6,000. If an agreement is not reached by attorneys negotiating and a trial is required, the cost could cost an additional $5,000 – $10,000 each.
Finally, you should be aware that Mediated Agreements have a higher satisfaction rate and compliance rate (rate at which the agreement is followed) than attorney negotiated or litigated judgments. For situations that include parenting plans, studies find that the children are better adjusted with mediated agreements as compared to attorney negotiated or litigated judgments. This factor can translate to a savings of future legal fees.