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Co-Mediation: The Future of Family Law

Amy Salladay and Heidi Blackstun are the only team in Mid-Missouri offering the practical experience of an attorney combined with the knowledge of a practiced therapist to help families come up with creative solutions when dealing with custody and visitation in Mid-Missouri. This team approach to resolving family conflicts will become mainstream in Missouri in the coming years.

Heidi Blackstun began her career in 1989. She is a licensed clinical social worker, has a Masters in Social Work, a Masters in Business Administration and is a certified mediator through the State of Missouri. In addition to mediating she also provides cognitive behavioral and relationship therapy for individuals and families.

Why co-mediate?

  • Two Sets of Skills
    Two mediators, with different professions and skill sets offer the parties expertise in multiple arenas. Amy Salladay can offer you information about the legal process and the nuts and bolts of resolving your case through the court system. She has "been there, done that," and can share with you the practical outcome of taking your case to court. Heidi Blackstun can offer you observations and insights about the process aided by her therapy skills. Her experience in resolving family conflicts through a family systems perspective are unmatched by any attorney.
  • Two Personalities
    The success of mediation relies in part on the relationship between the mediator and the parties. Having two mediators creates a second opportunity for the mediators to connect with the parties and to build trust necessary to have a successful outcome. You may not like the personality of one mediator or you may feel like the mediator "doesn't get you" but if one mediator "doesn't get you" it is highly likely that the other one will.
  • Two Heads Are Better than One
    Having two co-mediators means that there is a second person in the room observing the dynamics between the parties and a second opportunity for feedback that otherwise just isn't available.
  • It's Faster
    The two mediators can divide tasks and be more efficient. We can hold separate caucuses and work individually with the parties to keep the momentum going and eliminate the waiting periods often endured when there is only one mediator. You may resolve your case even faster.
  • You Get a Lot for Your Money
    For $300 per hour you are getting two professionals instead of one. The fees for each professional per hour are generally less than $300 but having them both in the room at the same time tends to lead to resolutions quicker than more individual sessions over time with each expert.

Who should co-mediate?

Co-mediation is recommended for high conflict custody cases, multi-party cases like grandparent visitation or guardianships, cases involving complex legal issues and where gender plays a role. Matters involving only property and potential support issues may not require a co-mediator, depending on the level of conflict between the parties. It is not uncommon that as you mediate it is necessary to move from the one mediator model to two as circumstances change or become clearer.

What does it cost?

The fees for co-mediation are $300 per hour. This covers the cost of both mediators while working in face-to-face sessions. Any phone calls, correspondence, and emails are billed separately from the face-to-face mediation sessions.

Why should you co-mediate?

Our goal is to tip the mediation odds in your favor in every way that makes sense for you and your family. Co-mediation is flexible, faster, invites more opportunity for problem-solving and creativity, and we believe our success rates are better than than the one mediator model when it comes to more complex family law cases.

How do I schedule co-mediation?

You can contact Columbia Family Law Group at 573-303-5530 in order to schedule your co-mediation session today. For more information about Heidi Blackstun check out her website at www.heidiblackstun.com.

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