A Burnsville Family Lawyer with Mediation Experience image

Major life changes can make your life seem out of control. Take a deep breath. Educate yourself. Gather your support system. And decide if there is a way you can identify your options and make the choices that you do have. For some people, mediation is the way to go.

Mediation is an out-of-court process based on the principle of self-determination. The mediator will facilitate discussions toward agreement. It is the mediator's job to maintain an atmosphere during the mediation that permits each of you to speak on your own behalf and either agree or disagree as you see your own interests. It is also the mediator's job to keep track of the agreements that you have reached.

It is not the mediator's job to give you legal advice, do an investigation of the facts, provide therapy, decide your case or draft the final legal paperwork that needs to be submitted to the court. If you need some of those services, you should contact a family therapist or family law lawyer like me, Deborah N. Dewalt.

A common format for mediation involves the following steps:

  • Identifying your goals for the mediation and the issues
  • Gathering information relating to the issues
  • Analyzing the information
  • Brainstorming possible options for resolution
  • Evaluating which of those options might work for both of you

Mediation can be adapted to suit the unique needs of your case. For example:

  • Mediation can occur before any court papers have been served or it can occur shortly before a trial or evidentiary hearing.
  • Parties may attend mediation without their attorneys or with attorneys.
  • Parties and the mediator may sit in the same room or the parties may sit in different rooms and the mediator moves from room to room.
  • You may ask the mediator to be facilitative (traditional), evaluative, transformative, or leave it up to the mediator to combine styles as needed by your case — no matter what the style of the mediation, your case will still resolve only if you reach an agreement.

If your choice is to use mediation to resolve your family law issue, I am committed to helping you find a workable solution for your issues in a calm, respectful and productive way. I am always drawing on the experience and training that I have gained in family law cases since 1985.

Learn More About the Benefits of Mediation

If you and your spouse disagree about visitation schedules, support agreements, divorce-related expenses or any other family law matter, a Dakota County divorce mediation attorney can help. Call me, Deborah N. Dewalt, Attorney at Law, at 952-641-7455 or toll free at 866-919-7417. You can also contact my Burnsville office online.