Mediation is a process in which a mediator tries to help parties come to agreements. A mediator is a trained neutral who does not take sides. The mediator will try to help you solve these issues:
- Where the children will live
- When the other parent will have contact with the children
- How you plan to make decisions about children
- Amount of child support
- How the children's health care will be covered
The cost of court sponsored mediation is $160 total - that's $80 per party. If you cannot afford to pay these costs, you can use these fee waiver forms to apply to have this fee waived by the court.
Again, it is important to prepare ahead of time. Read more about the decisions you will need to make here.
In the case of divorce, the Mediator will ask about:
- How you will divide your marital property and debts
- Whether one party will pay spousal support
NOTE: If you are not married, then the court will address your child-related issues. But it will not help you divide up your property and debts. You will have to figure this out on your own. More details here.
You must mediate in "good faith," but you don't have to agree to anything that you believe is wrong or wouldn't work. If the other party has abused you or you are afraid, ask to meet with the mediator alone to tell the mediator that you are afraid. You can ask to be in a separate room from the other party during the mediation.
NOTE: You can choose to use a private mediator, rather than the court mediator. But you must pay the mediator's fee. If you are in the Portland area, you can also choose to go to Opportunity Alliance for mediation services, which are generally free or low-cost, based on your income.
The mediator will give the Magistrate a report. This report outlines any agreements you were able to reach during the mediation. After mediation the Court will schedule a status conference where the Magistrate will review the report and decide the next step.