What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where parties come together in a confidential setting to negotiate a settlement.
Who attends Mediation
The Mediator, who is a neutral third party, leads the mediation. The parties to the case are required to attend the mediation. If a party is represented by an attorney, then their attorney should attend as well. On occasion, professionals such as financial advisors, business valuation, etc. may attend the mediation with consent of the other side.
What happens at mediation
The Mediator starts the mediation by giving an opening statement about the mediation process. The Mediator usually separates the parties into separate rooms. Each attorney is given an opportunity to set forth their client’s position of the case. The Mediator shuttles back and forth between the two rooms gathering information and delivering various offers and counter-offers. The Mediator assists the parties in attempting to reach an amicable settlement by facilitating discussion and negotiation.
How long does mediation take
Negotiation is a process, so it typically takes time for the parties to feel comfortable with the process and to find middle ground. The opening session with each party typically takes the longest time as each party is explaining to the Mediator their side of the case. It is not uncommon for the Mediator to go back and forth multiple times during the negotiation process.
Mediation is confidential
Confidentiality is a key component to the mediation process. It allows parties to negotiate without having to worry their statements will be used against them in court if an agreement is not reached. If the case doesn’t settle at mediation, then the court only knows the parties attended mediation, but the discussions are confidential and not disclosed to the court or to third parties.
Settlement at Mediation is voluntary
Most parties go into mediation with a positive attitude of wanting to work their case out amicably. However, whether to settle at mediation is completely up to the parties. Either party is free to walk out of the mediation anytime after the Mediator has delivered the opening statement.
What happens after mediation
If an agreement is reached at mediation, then a Mediation Agreement and/or Consent Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage is drafted addressing the terms settled upon. The case can then be finalized shortly thereafter without the need for a contested final hearing.
Is mediation right for you
Mediation usually provides parties the best opportunity to come up with an amicable resolution to their dispute and allows them to control the outcome of their case. Statistically the majority of cases resolve at mediation.