AmandaPorterLaw092Porter Law Office offers family mediation services. Amanda Porter is a certified mediator and certified Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE) provider. Amanda is currently on the SENE roster in Scott and Carver counties but is willing to perform SENEs in other counties upon request.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is mediation?

In mediation the parties voluntarily work with an impartial third party who controls the meeting process in an effort to reach a mutually agreeable solution. Mediators do not have the authority to make a decision for the parties.  Some mediators can be evaluative (i.e. will offer an opinion on what a court might be likely to do.)

What is a parenting time expeditor?

A parenting time expeditor is a neutral third party who can assist parties in making decisions about parenting time issues.  If the parties cannot reach an agreement, a parenting time expeditor has the authority to make the final decision.  A parenting time expeditor, by statute, may only deal with parenting time issues and not with any other issues.  A court may appoint a parenting time expeditor without the parties’ agreement.

What is a parenting consultant?

A parenting consultant can deal with issues other than parenting time.  Parties must agree to a parenting consultant.  The parenting consultant’s role is defined by the parties’ agreement and a parenting consultant only has the authority granted by the parties.

What are the benefits of mediation?

Mediation allows parties to work out a solution to their issues themselves.  This permits parties to resolve their issues in a way that works best for both of them.  A judge cannot possibly know as much about the parties’ situation as the parties themselves.  Taking a case to trial can be costly, in terms of money, time and emotions.  Mediation can help parties resolve their issues quickly, efficiently and less costly manner.

How much does mediation cost?

The costs of mediation can vary quite a bit.  Costs will vary depending on the mediator, the number of issues the parties have, the complexity of the parties’ issues, and  the ability of the parties to work through the issues.  Porter Law Office offers its services on a sliding scale basis.

Do I need an attorney?

You do not necessarily need an attorney, but an attorney is highly recommended.  Mediators are neutral parties and are not permitted to give either party legal advice.  Therefore, it is recommended that parties have their own attorney to give them legal advice.  Mediators are also not supposed to draft court documents for the parties, so unrepresented parties must either submit the paperwork themselves or hire an attorney to do so.

Is mediation appropriate for everyone?

Not necessarily.  If there has been domestic abuse in a relationship, the parties may not be suited for mediation.  However, if a victim of domestic abuse would like to try mediation, there are ways to do so in a safe and comfortable manner.  Victims of domestic abuse should alert the mediator to this issue before mediation begins.

Parties must also be willing to negotiate in good faith.  If one or both parties are not willing or able to do that, the parties may not be good candidates for mediation.

What is an SENE?

A Social Early Neutral Evaluation is when both parties sit down with a male and female evaluator to attempt to reach resolution on any of the issues regarding their children (except child support). This program is done through the courts and you can learn more about it here.

How much does an SENE cost?

The cost of the SENE will depend on the county the case is in, and either the party’s income or the amount the party is paying his or her attorney. If you’re interested in an SENE you will need a court order from the judge, who can tell you more about the cost. In general SENEs are frequently cheaper than private mediation. SENEs are always cheaper than litigation.