Questions and Answers for Mediation

What is Mediation?

Mediation is an organized, structured method of solving conflicts. The mediator guides discussion, exposes conflict, tests reality, and helps facilitate resolution. You make your own decisions in mediation. The role of the mediator is to help people solve problems by exploring what the problem is, discovering people's positions, getting the 'other side' to understand how their 'adversary' thinks and feels. The outcome should be a mutual agreement.

Why Should I Care?

Mediation helps people in conflict determine their outcome. People have self interests. You can save time and money or go at your pace with this service. Courts are a process too, and it could take more time and money to 'be heard'.  It could also take a year in court to settle certain disputes. Determine your outcome and choose mediation.

Who Mediates?

The two people with conflict (Parties or Party), and the mediator; or, two interests that have a conflict with one another, and the mediator. James has experience mediating and follows a process. Divorce mediation is common, but not all legal complaints involve married couples. If your neighbor's tree falls and destroys your property, you could mediate that conflict as opposed to going to court for property damage. Landlords often mediate rental disputes. What if there is a wrongful death suit in your family because of hospital error? or a work injury leading to demands for compensation?

Where would we?

Kirkham Services works through Zoom and does not have a physical location. Our services are available to you through the comfort and safety of your home. We can arrange to mediate in person if wanted or needed.

Cost Estimate?

Mediation costs much less than litigation. Lawyers can cost upwards $400 an hour (per person) and you could end up spending thousands of dollars before even going to court. The average cost of a divorce in Arizona is $20,000. You can mediate a divorce for a fraction of the cost depending on how complex your estate is, what is involved, etc. Lawyers are there because they know your legal rights and they are paid to defend them. Consult with a lawyer and a mediator to determine what's best for you. Or, bring your lawyer to mediation.

When Would We?

At a time that is convenient for the parties and the mediator. Kirkham Services is flexible with days and nights, weekdays and weekends, and holidays. We understand that people have busy schedules. Mediation sessions can last as little as 4 hours.

How Does James Mediate?

I take a human approach to problem solving conflicts. Families are dynamic, complicated systems. By getting to know you, I can better serve you. Beginning with interviews and collecting information, I explore conflict and bring a sociological perspective to mediation. No judgement is involved when people answer difficult questions. My job is to ask questions that help people navigate their conflicts. Families can have intense conflict. Mediation does not always work.

When James mediates for the Coconino County Court he follows a standard caucus format. The parties break into separate rooms after a joint introduction and the mediator goes between rooms gathering information, and communicating for the parties. Mediation is a process. During that process, the mediator keeps all information gained confidential unless a party explicitly expresses that information can be shared.

We provide free consultations. Ask questions about your mediation through the Contact page.

Other Relevant Questions:

Do I need an attorney for mediation?

No!  You can mediate your divorce without an attorney. You may want to consult with one, but you don't need one.

If I have and attorney, can my attorney be present, or does my attorney have to be present at mediation?

Yes. Your attorney can be present, and No, they don't have to be present. You can have an attorney present if you would like, or, you can have an attorney do all the speaking, that's what you pay them for, to represent your legal rights. We have mediated for families with and without attorneys. We have also had attorneys tell clients, 'if you have a question, just call me or email me, but, I don't think I need to sit in on the mediation and I charge you by the hour', and then leave the Zoom meeting if their client agrees.

Be real and stop beating around the bush, what's your fee? How much do you charge for your service?

Our fee is competitive and we're upfront. After consultation we would have a better idea, but here are some solid numbers. Simple matters, just your basic assets, our rate is $250 an hour. For more complicated matters, like an extensive parenting plan/custody mediation, up to $400 an hour. We have an initial fee of $500 that includes all communication between parties and the mediator prior to mediation. We conduct pre-mediation interviews as part of this fee, allow for parties to provide confidential initial statements and documents, and we can help provide documents to collect information related to what is needed as part of that fee. We provide a mediation agreement that is signed by all parties which helps clarify when and where the mediation is, how costs will be split, a timeline of when documents are due to the mediator, and fees due to Kirkham Services. 

Can I pick a specific matter where you can help me come to an agreement?

Absolutely! If you and the other party only want to mediate custody and parenting time, we can focus on that; or, we can talk about only splitting up assets. It's your decision what you want to mediate. You don't have to mediate everything and you could agree on letting the court decide certain matters. Our job and service is to give you control of your problem without court. You deserve to make your own decisions. We'll discuss your needs during a free consultation.

How long does it take to mediate a divorce?

We have mediated aspects of divorce, like property, in as little as four hours. It depends on how complicated matters are. My parents mediated their divorce and at the time, they owned no property, had two vehicles, and only needed to agree to their parenting time/custody agreement. They were satisfied with the court deciding child/spousal support, and other issues. Every family is unique. We estimate a half to full day of mediation for scenarios like property. It could take several sessions (4 hours a session) to reach an agreement related to parenting time, depending on what you want your agreement to look like. For example, the court can orders parents to spend set years and holidays with a certain parent, such as mother getting even years, and father odd years. You should think about who is going to claim a child for taxes or how you'll spend summers or winter break with children and who is going to pay for daycare, or sports. Kirkham Services will work around your schedule, meet you needs, and facilitate these dialogs.

Do you mediate Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDRO) ?

We have limited experience with QDRO's and mediating this type of agreement would increase the cost of mediation. QDRO's are very complicated. We recommend that you have an attorney present and you may want your financial advisor present. Having those important individuals present wont increase our fee's, but you will probably have to pay your people. When mediating a QDRO, we want you to have important and proper representation. This could mean your financial advisor or your attorney. These people will can help you make an informed decisions about your QDRO. We could quote you $250-400 an hour but you might realistically spend $1,000 an hour having your attorney or financial advisor present. We may need to interview your financial advisor to have a better understanding of how particular pensions or 401K's pay out to the designee.

Kirkham Services does not provide legal or financial advice and makes no diagnosis' related to medical or mental-health conditions. We provide Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Parenting Planning services, and Notary.

Click here to view our Mediation Agreement. If you have a question visit our FAQ, visit Services to see what we provide, About to see our qualified mediator, and Contact if you want to talk.