Frequently Asked Questions

What is the cost of mediation vs. an attorney?

Costs to Mediate:

Screening calls and Preparation work: $250.00 – $500.00
Follow up meeting: 4 hours at $300.00/hour, or $1,200.00
Preparation of Mediated Settlement Agreement: $500.00
Preparation of additional documents, such as Parenting Plan, Child Support Worksheet, and/or Dissolution filings (if necessary): $500.00

Approximate Total Cost of Mediation: $500.00-$2,500.00

Costs to Litigate:

Initial Consultation: $250.00-$500.00/hour
Retainer: $2,500.00-$5,000.00
Filing Initial Pleadings (Summons and Initial Petition): $1,200.00
Responding to Answer and/or Counter Petition: $1,000.00
Serving Discovery: $500.00
Responding to Discovery: $750.00
Preparing Financial Affidavit and Mandatory Disclosure Compliance: $1,800.00
Preparing Motions: $750.00
Preparing Motion for Attorneys’ Fees: $750.00
Responding to Motions: $750.00
Hiring Experts: $2,000.00
Hearings/Court Appearances: $4,500.00
Mediation (Court-Ordered): $1,200.00
Co-Parenting Classes and Preparation of Parenting Plan: $500.00
Trial: $7,500.00-$10,000.00
Appeal: $5,000.00

Approximate Total Cost of Litigation: $32,700.00+

Source: Danois, J.D., Diane L. “The Cost of Litigation Versus Mediation in Family Law.” The Huffington Post (2012)

Is mediation successful?

Mediation is extremely successful, which is why Judges are ordering divorces cases to mediation. Statistics show that parties who have been through the mediation process are 80% more likely to follow a mediation settlement versus a court order!

How do you conduct mediations?

It depends on where the parties are located. If both parties are local to the metro-Detroit area, then the mediation will take place at my office. If one party no longer resides in Michigan, we can mediate via a conference call.

How long is the mediation process?

The average amount of time depends on the complexities of the case. Some cases are resolved after an hour of mediation while others might take two or three mediation sessions to reach a conclusion.

Is the mediation settlement like a court order?

A mediated settlement agreement, signed by both parties, is a legally binding document.

Are the mediations confidential?

Yes and I ask that both parties sign a confidentiality agreement before the mediation process begins. However, there are exceptions to that agreement and I have an ethical duty to report the following:

  • a threat to inflict bodily injury or commit a crime,
  • a statement of a plan to inflict bodily injury or commit a crime, or
  • is used to plan a crime, attempt to commit a crime, or conceal a crime.

What happens after the mediation ends?

Usually, I never hear from a client again, which isn’t a bad thing! It simply means that the mediation was a success. If a conflict arises, however, I encourage the parties to try and resolve their differences through mediation before litigation.

Do you allow attorneys in your mediations?

Every mediator is different in how they handle attorneys. Typically, my mediations include just the parties and myself. However, I do coordinate schedules with attorneys so that they are easily accessible by phone in case one of the parties needs advice or clarification.

What makes you different from other mediators?

Every mediator is unique and has his or her own process of how to handle a mediation. What makes me different from some other mediators is that I’ve been through a divorce and a very contentious child custody battle so I understand the pain, confusion, and heartache each party feels. But I also love the moment when both parties, who might have an incredible amount of animosity toward each other, come together and decide on an agreement that is best for the children.

As for other types of mediation, (civil, corporate, etc.) I don’t drag out mediations, which is why some of my mediation sessions only last an hour. I’m not there to waste your time and money. Let’s hash this out, discuss, and agree on a settlement.

Are you a Licensed Attorney?

Even though I have a J.D., I am not licensed to practice law. I can tell you what the law is but I can not give you legal advice. If I feel as though you may need legal advice, I can refer you to an attorney.

I noticed that you are on the court-appointed list for courts located on the west side of Michigan, yet you live on the east side of Michigan. Do you charge extra for travel?

I attended Grand Valley State University from 1996-2001. I love visiting campus and catching up with friends on the west side of the state. I chose to apply to the court appointed lists near Grand Valley and because it is my choice, I do NOT charge for travel expenses. I charge the same price for every mediation regardless of where you live. The mediation is either held at the GVSU Alumni House in a conference room or at the Courthouse.