Frequently Asked Questions
How do I start mediation?
Call one of our offices (Longview at 360-232-8622 or Centralia at 360-623-8061) and one of our staff will conduct a brief intake over the phone and open a case for the parents. Only one parent needs to call. We will inform them of the next steps in the process and answer any specific questions they have. Our office will then attempt to contact the second party.
How much does mediation cost?
The standard cost for mediation services through our center is $310 per case which covers up to two 2-hour sessions. The cost is usually split 50/50 by both parties, but court orders can stipulate who is responsible. One client can pay the whole amount if they are willing.
Is financial assistance available?
YES. We provide every client with a 1-page application for a reduction in fees, which follows the current Federal Poverty Level guidelines. By Washington State Law, mediation services must be offered at a reduced rate, based on ability to pay, including waiving the cost entirely if the client has no income. We will never turn someone away based on financial need.
What if the other party doesn't want to mediate?
Mediation is a voluntary process, with a few County-specific exceptions. If we are unable to reach one of the parties after 7-10 days of daily attempts using all the contact information provided, we will send a letter to both parties notifying them that we are closing the case due to the lack of communication. The letter will indicate which party was unresponsive. Cases closed in this way are always able to be re-opened at a later time.
Can my attorney come to my mediation?
Yes. By law Clients are allowed to bring someone with them, but self-determination by the client is a requirement of successful mediation. This person must sign the ‘agreement to mediate’, acknowledging they are aware of the confidentiality and civility required during the sessions. We encourage clients to speak for themselves during negotiations and request a break from the main session if they need to consult with an advisor. Clients may also make phone calls during break time.
What happens during the mediation?
The parties will meet with two mediators who will review the expectations of civil behavior and explain the structure of the specific type of mediation to take place. Each party will be given the opportunity briefly discuss their goals for the session and what topics are important for them to discuss. After each party has spoken, the mediators will help create an agenda of the agreed upon items and then guide the parties in a discussion with each other. The mediators will work to keep the conversation productive, solution-based and future-focused.