How much will this process cost?
Each case varies, and fees are charged by the hour. Depending on how complicated the issues are, the level of conflict present, and how much professional time is needed to help parties reach an agreement, fees can vary greatly. In an average mediated case, without complexities, clients may need only two or three sessions with Tonya. Then, Cindy, our paralegal, prepares the legal documents at a reduced rate to keep costs down. We will help each family prepare a roadmap for their divorce using the most cost efficient process that meets the client or family’s goals.
What if my spouse or partner has already hired an attorney?
This may depend on whether the attorney has been retained and filed paperwork with the courts. Sometimes the other party agrees to take a step back and join the other party in trying to resolve their differences in mediation (or to hire a collaborative attorney versus a litigator). If paperwork has already been filed, this can be a little more complicated, but is still possible to reach a settlement out of court.
What happens if we are not able to reach an agreement?
A very high percentage of our cases settle during mediation with only 97% of all family law cases proceeding to trial (per a judicial study in Multnomah County). In the rare instances an out of court settlement cannot be reached, we will help you choose the best fit for a litigation attorney to move ahead with your case through the court system.
Is Mediation or Collaborative Method best for me?
This depends on the family dynamics, what legal issues exist in the case, and level of conflict. In many instances, mediation works well because both parties meet with Tonya as their joint, neutral mediator to sort through their differences (sometimes with the help of other professionals, depending on the issues).
In some cases, though, one or both parties need additional support or advocacy, and prefer to have an attorney to consult with. In this scenario, both parties will choose a collaboratively trained attorney and will not need a mediator. Tonya and another collaborative attorney will work together to guide the family through the legal process through a series of problem solving meetings with interest based discussion led by clients’ goals and needs.
What if we already have an agreement on everything?
This is often referred to as a “kitchen table settlement” and it is still usually the least costly method of divorcing or separating. However, there are many potential pitfalls or mistakes that can be made and not realized until years down the road, and potentially unfixable. We highly recommend at least one meeting with Tonya to review your agreement and help fill in anything missing or necessary to protect both clients’ rights and ensure there are no unintended consequences to your agreement. We can also assist with reviewing documents and/ or drafting documents for filing with the court.