Mediation

Kimberly Stamatelos has been a mediator since 1987 and she has been instrumental in developing mediation in the state of Iowa. She has mediated thousands of cases in matters large and small. Examples of disputes she has mediated include: divorce, property distribution, custody issues, alimony, child support, sale of the marital home, disagreements between parents about child rearing issues, disputes on interpretation of the legal Decree, visitation problems, lack of communication between parents, disputes involving partners, co-habitation, disputes between businesses, families dealing with elderly parents, and all types of civil matters including automotive manufacturers, insurance companies, and persons injured in automobiles and on the job.

Kim has mediated in cities all over the country and continues to have a practice that is national in scope.

Kim is also an experienced mediator trainer and was instrumental  in bringing mediation to Iowa in the late 1980’s.  She has trained mediators all over the country and is passionate about the message of mediation.


Conscious Contracting

In this model, parties in relationship (business or personal) proactively participate in a facilitated dialogue led by Kim. The discussion includes goals and accountability measures in the living out of their anticipated contract.  This can also be done with parities interested in a prenuptial agreement.

Unlike traditional lawyer contracting, the conscious contracting process involves a thorough analysis of values, expectations, measurable goals for the future, and detailed steps to take if parts of the contract begin to erode.  By engaging in this model contracting parties are not just handed a form contract whipped up by their attorney. The conscious contracting process is a thoughtful, calm, and thorough review of all the different facets inherent in successful relationships.

If you are contemplating marriage, divorce, going into business with someone, blending a stepfamily, or redefining an existing relationship,  conscious contracting led by a compassionate attorney can be a healthy way to ward off conflict.

 


 Mediation FAQs

 

What is mediation?

Mediation is a negotiation between parties who are in conflict, using a third party neutral to manage the discussion. It is informal, and gives the parties a chance to listen to, and be heard by each other, through the help of the mediator. It is ideal for parties who desire to maintain respect and work together to resolve their differences instead of having a court or judge take control.

What is the mediator’s role?

Although she is an experienced attorney, when she is serving as a mediator, Kim does not act like a judge making a decision for the parties about how to resolve their differences. Instead, she leads the discussion making sure all issues are discussed thoroughly and helps the parties to understand each others’ positions. She is “in favor of” BOTH parties and her goal is to help the parties come to a resolution that works for both of them. Kim helps the parties explore possible solutions and may offer ideas for discussion. Kim has been mediating since 1987.

What if the mediator has an opinion about what should happen?

A good mediator not only helps the parties see things from the other person’s vantage point, she can help the parties consider issues and consequences they may have overlooked. Kim may review ideas or possible outcomes with the parties to help them determine if the solutions are really workable. However, it is the parties, not the mediator, who have control over whether they agree to a settlement or not because the parties walk away with a clearer understanding of their differences and expectations.

Do I need a lawyer, or can the mediator do the legal work too?

Parties may come to mediation with or without their attorney. If they come with their attorney, they need to rely on their attorney for legal advice. If they come without an attorney they need to realize that when serving as a mediator, Kim can give them legal information but she cannot provide legal advice. The parties can agree to a resolution of their differences with Kim as mediator and then take their agreement to an attorney to review and to draft the legal documents. Due to ethical restraints placed on lawyers in Iowa acting as mediators, Kim cannot serve as a mediator and then serve as a lawyer to the parties filing documents on their behalf.

What if we don’t resolve our differences?

If your matter is not resolved you can still go to court. Because the process is confidential, Kim does not testify as to what went on in the mediation. She may, however, tell the judge that you had a final agreement if one is reached at the mediation and if one of the parties tries to back out of a signed agreement. Many feel that a mediation session has great value whether an agreement is reached or not, because parties walk away with a clearer understanding of their differences and expectations.

What are the benefits of mediation?

Parties in a mediation can speak like normal people about the fears and concerns they have about the issues in conflict. Unlike court where the judge only hears evidence as it is skillfully presented by trained lawyers, in a mediation we just discuss problems like “regular people”. Kim may have the parties meet together or in separate private sessions, based on their comfort level.

What is the cost of mediation?

Mediation costs $200 per hour for family law matters and $250 per hour for other types of matters including business, employment, personal injury or other civil cases. Parties pay for mediation at the conclusion of the session. If the case is a family law case in Polk County, there may also be administrative fees of $100 per case. The fees are each paid 1/2 by each party, unless the parties agree otherwise.

How long does it usually take?

Mediations can last a few hours or for a full day or days. They can be in single or multiple sessions. The average mediation lasts about 3-4 hours. For divorce, when the parties are not attending with an attorney, Kim may schedule 2-hour sessions one or two weeks apart until the parties have achieved settlement or conclude maximum benefit has been reached.

What if I want to schedule a mediation or ask other questions?

Simply contact our office at kim@thecompassionatealliance.com or call 515-223-1631.


As Featured in THE IOWA LAWYER February 2013 

My father, the lawyer, and what he taught a trained mediator about mediation
By Kimberly Stamatelos

Link to Original Article