In child custody cases it is the desire of Mr. Showalter that the parties get together and come to an agreement themselves. This is not always likely to happen since it is disagreement that has usually brought the parties to the point of seeking court intervention. However, as judges have repeatedly told Mr. Showalter -- the best child custody decision will be made by the parents, not me.
A prominent family law judge once told him his take on why parents should have their dispute mediated before placing the decision before him. It went something like this: I don't know these people, these aren't my children, I don't love them and I don't have to raise them. Any decision I make is not going to make those parents as happy as what they can create on their own.
He elaborated that parents are best suited to know the needs of their children. They know their schedules and limitations best. They know better than him how their children are going to handle particular child custody arrangements. And, quite candidly, there isn't enough time and the law just isn't written in a way that lets him make a better decision than that which the parents could establish by cooperating to create one together.
Parties who are entering into child custody litigation should first seek Mr. Showalter's assistance in resolving their child custody dispute. He knows what factors a judge must consider and, although no one knows exactly what a judge will do, he can reasonably predict how a judge would rule if the decision was left to the court to consider your unique circumstances.
Parents will be asked to complete a pre-conference questionnaire about their wishes as to child custody, support, parenting time and any other matters either wishes to resolve. Mr. Showalter will compile a list of the unresolved matters prior to the mediation conference which will be distributed to each party and any attorneys.
Let Mr. Showalter use his vast experience to help you resolve your child custody placement in a manner that will best suit you, the other parent and, most importantly . . . your children. Attorneys have been using Mr. Showalter's settlement agreements verbatim.
Mr. Showalter is not an attorney therefore you have no attorney-client privilege with him. To ensure that the parties are as open and candid with him as possible when discussing the needs of their children he does sign a confidentiality agreement with the parties. This agreement states that neither party will call him as a witness and that he will not testify as to any matter the parties discussed with him in mediation. Additionally, Indiana Rules of Evidence 408 provides that evidence obtained during compromise or settlement negotiations is not admissible in a judicial proceeding.
Price and Availability
In an effort to ensure that you come to the best agreement for the benefit of your children, Mr. Showalter does not charge a fee for successful mediation that take one hour or less. Mr. Showalter's mediation rate is $100 per hour. A $200 deposit must be made by the parties prior to the mediation conference being scheduled. The parties must be prepared to pay an additional $100 per hour, billed at one hour increments. If the mediation produces an agreement as to all issues the parties will be refunded the first $200 of Mr. Showalter's fees to be distributed equally among all parties.