Family Law and Mediation
Dibble & Miller, P.C. offers a highly experienced and
compassionate family-law staff dedicated to working through difficult times
with our clients.
The firm's family law practice covers all aspects of family-related and
No other area of the law encompasses to such an extent the day-to-day lives
of so many people of all social and economic classes.
Family and Domestic Relation Possible Issues:
● Marriage and Divorce
● Father’s Rights
● Grandparents' Rights
● Pre- and Post-Nuptial Agreements
● Foster Care
● Domestic Violence
Support and Maintenance
● Restraining Orders
● Parent-Child Issues
● Legal Separation
● Custody and Visitation
● Termination of Parental Rights
● Child Support
● Living Together
Owing Property Jointly when Not Married
Division (Assets & Liabilities)
● Paternity and Paternity Testing
● Emergency Relief
Spousal Support and Maintenance was formerly called Alimony
Long years of experience have taught us, at Dibble & Miller, P.C.,
that vigorous goal-driven representation is the most efficient method of
relieving our clients of the stress associated with these situations so that
they will be able to continue to deal with other aspects of their
lives, even in the toughest of times.
Mediation — Summary of Firm's Services
Mediation can be an effective tool to resolve
issues such as: separation, divorce, domestic abuse, custody, visitation,
parenting, parent-teen, life partner, and family financial issues.
Dibble & Miller, P.C., offers
family mediation services.
Mediation is a method of inexpensive
dispute resolution that allows parties to work together, without
attorneys, in order to reach an agreement.
Issues addressed in mediation include
separation, divorce, domestic abuse, custody, visitation, parenting,
parent-teen, life partner, and family financial issues.
The goal of mediation is to foster guided
resolutions to difficult or emotional issues. In order to engage in
mediation, participants do not need to be friends, or even like
All that is required for mediation is a
willingness to discuss issues and solutions—with the assistance of a
neutral third party.
Some mediators just want an agreement,
whether or not it is fair to the parties. However, the mediator at
Dibble & Miller, P.C. seeks to achieve equitable results for the
parties, not just a resolution.
A non-attorney mediator is available
for all mediation services. Also, the firm offers full, free,
legal services to the mediator for any legal issues raised
Mediation services are offered at an hourly
fee which represents a significant cost savings over the
traditional two-attorney adversarial legal system generally employed in
If you think that mediation may be the
helpful to you, please do not hesitate to call Dibble & Miller, P.C. for a free initial consultation.
___ __________ ___
What is Mediation? Mediation is a process in which an impartial third
party, referred to as a mediator, assists in the resolution of disputes by
working with the parties involved to help them reach voluntary agreements.
Mediation can be a valuable tool in any area of dispute and can greatly
assist parties involved in family-law related disputes. When the costs of
mediation are shared between the parties, mediation becomes individually an
inexpensive method to resolve family-law related disputes.
When parties are separating, divorcing or interacting after a separation or
divorce, there are many decisions that need to be made to enable these
parties to make a harmonious adjustment to a new way of life. These include
distribution of joint or marital assets; parenting issues; where the child
or children will reside; shared decision-making for the benefit of the
children; financial support of the children; and issues involving the
continuing financial health and viability of each of the parties and their
What Mediation is Not? Family mediation is not a substitute for the need for
participants to obtain independent legal advice, counseling or therapy.
Family mediation is not marriage counseling. The primary goal of the
mediator is to assist the parties in reaching a peaceful resolution of
conflict, and not to restore or rebuild the marriage.
What are the Benefits of Mediation and Will it Benefit Me and My Family? It
is difficult for parties involved in a family dispute to settle the dispute
and simply walk away from each other. Often, there are children or financial
constraints that continue to tie the disputing parties "together" for a
number of years. When parties turn to the legal system for assistance in
settling their disputes, they are primarily relying on their attorneys and
the court system to negotiate for them and/or to make decisions for them.
Many times these same parties may find themselves back in court on
successive occasions because they have never learned how to resolve disputes
between themselves. This is a costly process, both in terms of monies
expended as well as the emotions that are invariably brought to the
By working with each other with the assistance of a mediator, the parties
may learn how to resolve both today’s issues and those that may arise in the
future. They may be able to increase their input on decisions affecting
their lives and the lives of their children, and they may also be able to
reduce both the economic and emotional costs associated with the resolution
of family disputes.
Mediation, which does not result in a Separation Agreement, is still worth
the time and expense because usually some issues are resolved and unresolved
issues are identified. And, since there is no attorney expense involved in
the mediation process, the cost to go through the mediation process, even
one that does not result in a Separation Agreement, is usually far less than
if attorneys had been involved from the start. In other words, mediation is
usually worth trying because the parties almost always become educated about
the issues or obtain beneficial information justifying the effort and
Studies have shown that children may not be negatively impacted by being
raised in a two household situation, but that as conflict increases between
the parents, the negative impact on their children increases. When parties
are able to sit and discuss issues in a rational fashion without attorneys
or the court system involved, the possibility that their issues can be
resolved in a mutually satisfactory manner increases greatly.
What are the Requirements for Mediation? The parties do not need to be the
best of friends or on the best of terms to mediate an agreement. All that is
required is the parties’ willingness to discuss issues (with the assistance
of a neutral third party, who is the mediator) that need to be decided in an
attempt to settle those issues.
May Independent Counsel be Used? If parties have legal questions during
mediation, or before entering mediation, each may seek legal advice from his
or her own attorney. The involvement of attorneys does not preclude the
commencement or continuation of mediation. At the conclusion of the
mediation, the mediator will suggest that each party return to their
independent attorneys to review any proposed Separation Agreement.
What is the Mediation Process? In mediation, the parties and the mediator
will discuss and hopefully reach agreement on all issues that should be
included in a Separation Agreement. The mediator will guide the parties in
the areas that should be resolved and will be able to offer valuable
insights and alternatives and, although not an attorney, the mediator will
also have access, at no additional charge, to legal information through
Dibble & Miller, P.C., which information may be helpful to the
Dibble & Miller, P.C. offers mediation in a law firm setting. This
is a benefit to the parties because the mediator has available the full
resources of the law firm at no additional charge to assist the mediator in
the mediator's efforts to resolve the parties' disagreements. It is
important for the parties to realize that the mediator will work only with
both parties, and will not offer legal advice to either party separately,
but rather any such information will be given to both parties, jointly.
Either party can confer with his or her own separate attorney during the
Mediators are trained in conflict resolution and will work with the parties
to resolve any impasse that may be encountered by the parties. While the
parties may see an impasse as an insurmountable obstacle toward reaching
agreements, the mediator may help them to recognize an impasse as a possible
opportunity to emerge with a better and more workable understanding.
Because the mediation will take place at Dibble & Miller, P.C.,
where the attorneys are available to the mediator at no additional charge,
the parties will be provided at the end of the mediation with a proposed
Separation Agreement. The parties will each meet with the mediator to review
the agreement, and if it meets with each party's approval, the mediator will
provide a copy of the proposed Separation Agreement to the attorney that
each party selects. Each party may retain an attorney (other than an
attorney at Dibble & Miller, P.C.), for the purpose of reviewing the
agreement in order to be sure that they are fully informed of their legal
rights and obligations and fully understand the terms of the proposed
Separation Agreement prior to signing it. By requiring each party to consult
with a separate attorney, and to acknowledge that each party has been fully
and independently advised of his or her rights and obligations, each party
will have assurance that the agreement, when signed, will be a binding legal
agreement and will reflect their desired resolution. If either party does
not have an attorney, the mediator will recommend one if requested to do so.
Can the Mediation Process be Terminated? As with any process, there is no
guarantee that all parties entering mediation will reach a satisfactory
agreement. There are parties who will require strong advocates if they are
unable to speak or stand up for themselves, and for these individuals the
court system may be more appropriate. In this regard, the mediator will
advise the parties if the court system is more appropriate to resolve their
dispute because one of the parties is unable to sufficiently advocate his or
hers interests or one of the parties is unreasonably advocating for his or
her interests (for example, being a "bully" or being abusive). However, in
such a situation, the mediator will attempt to mediate the conflict of the
parties in order to avoid the necessity of litigating in court.
When mediation is conducted at Dibble & Miller, P.C., the mediator
will seek to achieve equitable results for the parties, not just a
resolution. This is an important part of mediation at Dibble & Miller, P.C. because there are mediators who simply seek to reach agreement
between the parties, whether or not it is fair or equitable to both parties.
At Dibble & Miller, P.C., if the mediator comes to the conclusion
that a proposed resolution of the mediation is not fair or equitable, than
the mediator will point this out to the parties and, if it cannot be
resolved, the mediation will be terminated.
If the parties feel that mediation is not beneficial to them, either party
may at any time pursue other avenues to resolve their issue. When a mediator
is retained at Dibble & Miller, P.C., there is no large retainer
paid "upfront", as there would normally be when an attorney is retained. As
a result, terminating the mediation is much less costly than terminating an
attorney. Moreover, when an attorney is retained to handle a family law
matter, and a retainer is paid, a considerable amount of the retainer may be
spent rapidly by the attorney handling such matters as legal research,
reviewing files, contacting adverse counsel, attending court conferences,
etc. By contrast, during the mediation process, and up to the drafting of
the Separation Agreement (which is usually done on an agreed fixed fee basis
rather than an hourly rate) all of the funds spent with the mediator are
spent at meetings with the mediator. As a result, the parties know exactly
how much each session will cost them, so that if termination of the
mediation is appropriate, the cost can be easily determined and controlled.
What Will Mediation Cost? Mediation services are billed on an hourly basis,
based on time spent in mediation with the parties and also time spent in
drafting the Separation Agreement. Time spent on drafting the agreement is
also billed on an hourly basis, and a fee is mutually agreed upon before the
written agreement is drafted. The mediator will discuss this with the
parties before the agreement is drafted.
Mediation is generally conducted in two-hour sessions, with fees being paid
at the end of each session. We encourage the parties, if possible, to divide
the cost of mediation so that each party is committed to the continuation of
Personal Communications with the Mediator. The parties shall not
communicate or meet individually with the mediator concerning matters in
mediation unless the parties and the mediator agree in advance that such
communication might prove helpful in the resolution of issues being