Frequently asked questions

What is mediation?


Mediation is one form of alternative dipute resolution (ADR), which is a way of resolving conflict outside the formal court process. Mediation is an informal, voluntary and confidential way to resolve disagreements without giving the decision making power about your family to someone else, like a judge. In mediation all the decision-making power stays with the actual experts on your life; YOU! Confidentiality Limits: Birch Dipute Resolution requires clients to sign a written confidentiality agreement for you to understand and accept iits confidentiality agreement including the limits of confidentiality regarding mandatied reporting for abuse/neglect and threats of harm to self and or others.




What is the role of the mediator?


As a trained divorce Mediator, Lorie Hardin acts as a nuetral facilitaor to help people: - Figure out Important Issues in the Disagreeemnt - Explain and Understand each other's Needs behind their Positions - Clear up Misundersdtandings - Explore Creative Solutions - Reach Identfy Common Areas of Agreement The mediator does not provide legal advise, tell the parties what to do, or make judgemnents about who is right or wrong.




Why use mediation?


People use mediation for many different reasons are are a few we have heard from our previous clients: - can be faster and much less expensive than long drawn out court battles - mediation may be less confrontational than dealing with the issues in litagation or in front of a judge -some perople appreciate the privacy and confidentiality of mediation - can reduce family stress and the trauma of high conflict litagation




What issues can be mediated?


The issues that can be mediated are only limited by the particpants desires. Some examples of issues that are well suited for mediation in high conflict divorce and custody situations include: Property & Debt Division Parenting Plans including custody, visitation and generally communicating and making decisions about your children. Birch Dispute Resolution provides mediation to address all the above issues as well as works with parties who need help with just one specific issue of disagreement.




Can we mediate issues before we file a court case?


Yes, in fact many perople avoid a contested case by going to mediation before filing a divorce or custody case with the courts. In addition you can mediate a pervious custpdy order before you file a motion to modify. For example: if you and ypur spouce agree that it is time to get divorced, but are unsure about the division of property or thwe parenting plan for the children, you might find mediation helps ypu reach an agreement on all issues and enables you to file a dissolution instead of a contested divorce.




If we have an open case will our judge know we are mediating


It is important for your judge to know you are particpating in mediation so the court can give you time to work through the process before setting a trial date in your case.




How long does mediation take?


Mediation with prior clients has taken as little as an hour to many hours and either over one session to several. It all depends on you and the following: - number of issues to mediate - how much you disagree - how open you are to try and work things out -where each party is in the emotional stage of divorce




How do we get into mediation?


If you have not filed a court case you and ypour ex can agree to mediation. If you have a court case open you can also agree with the other party to mediate or you can ask the judge to order a mediation.




How do we chose a mediator?


Mediator's education, training, experence and style vary; it is up to up to you to decide which mediator fits your needs and to be sure that the mediator chosen has the necessary skills and training you are looking for. Birch Dispute Resolution offers mediation with Alaska's only nationally certified divorce coach, Lorie A. Hardin. Lorie works with clients across the state of Alaska as well as virtually with clients from across the globe. Lorie earned her MBA form the Univeristy of Alaska and her undergratuate drgree in psychology from the University of Georgia. She recived specilized training in divorce mediation through Northwestern University. Her additional training as a Parent Cordinator and a background in trauma-informed care lead her to specialize working with parents who are involved in high conflict divorce or custody issues. Along with over 25 years working with families dealing with high conflict and custody issues; she is an approved State of Alaska mediator working in both the Court's Early Resolltuion and Child in Need of Aide mediation programs. She is a member in good standing with the the Assocaition of Professional Mediator of Alaska (PMAK), Asscoaition of Supervised Visitaion Network and the Certified Divorce Coaching Board of Standards. She abides by the model standards of conduct for mediators, endorsed by the American Arbitration Assocaition, Teh Americn Bar Association, the Associaiton for COnflict Resoultion; the Board of Standards for Divorce Coaching and the standards of Supervised Visitaion Practivce including specialized services for child sexual abuse and domestic violence. Lorie understands first hand, through her own divorce, the heartache and destruction that can occur when individuals are making life-altering decisions while overwhelmed and not operating at their very best. She helps clients regain a sense of peace, security and feel like they're in control of their life again.