Mediation is the opportunity for people to conduct their own settlement negotiations in the presence of someone who is trained to help them stay focused on resolving the conflict. This is a confidential, non-binding form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) that offers parties an opportunity to resolve their disputes without having an administrative hearing. In mediation, an impartial person, the mediator, facilitates communication between the parties and helps them explore settlement options. This informal and confidential way to achieve concrete resolutions helps people discuss their differences and understand one another's perspectives when reaching a resolution.
The term “mediation” broadly refers to any instance in which a third party helps others reach agreement. More specifically, mediation has a structure, timetable and dynamics that “ordinary” negotiation lacks. The process is private and confidential. Participation is typically voluntary. The mediator acts as a neutral third party, facilitates rather than directs the process, and can even draft documents to be filed with the court. Parties may mediate disputes in a variety of domains, such as commercial, legal, diplomatic, workplace, community and family matters.
Whereas litigation is, by its very nature, adversarial, mediation is a collaborative process. The parties, not the mediator, control whether or not the dispute is resolved. If the parties to a contested case try mediation, but the mediation is not successful, they still have the right to an administrative hearing presided over by an Administrative Law Judge who was not the mediator. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong or issue a decision. Instead, the mediator helps the parties work out their own solutions to problems.
Why choose mediation?
Mediation is usually less expensive than litigation, but it also provides more control over the outcome and less stress and animosity. People who resolve their cases by mediation generally have a more amicable resolution in a more private environment. The solutions can be more creative and tailored to the needs of the parties. Studies also suggest that the effects of divorce on children are less severe when their parents can reach an agreement without a trial.
Can mediation work if we aren't talking to each other?
Separating or separated couples often feel stuck in a cycle of conflict before they start mediation. They may have tried counseling or negotiating directly between themselves. Even if these approaches haven’t worked, mediation can still be successful. The presence of a neutral and impartial third party creates a dynamic that helps achieve a level of communication with the other party that you would most likely not be able to reach on your own.
How long will the mediation take and how much will it cost?
Unfortunately, it is hard to predict with precision how long mediation will take or how much mediation will cost. These issues depend primarily on how agreeable the participants are. Generally, for divorce matters, we meet between two and six times for approximately two hours each meeting. In other types of cases, the amount of time varies widely. The cost of a comprehensive mediated agreement generally ranges between $1,000.00 and $3,000.00. Contact us for additional information to help set an expectation of expenses.
What if we already agree on lots of issues?
The first thing that we want to do in mediation is to identify what you already agree on. Often those points of agreement can serve as a foundation for your overall agreement. Principles underlying agreements, on certain “easy” issues, can often be applied to resolve other issues. We will want to be sure that your agreement is well-informed and that you are aware of the many issues that you may want to consider. What is included in your agreement is up to you. Our goal is to support your well-informed decision-making.
What are our chances for success?
The success rate depends on the motivation of the parties to reach an agreement.
What if we don't reach an agreement?
In mediation, all discussions and materials, with very few listed exceptions, are confidential. If no mediated agreement is reached, evidence of the mediation discussions, mediation materials and any draft mediation resolution will not be admissible in court or any other adversarial proceeding.
Who pays for mediation?
Responsibility for mediation fees is an issue to be decided by mediation participants. Participants are encouraged to consider sharing fees to some extent so all will benefit from an expeditious and economic resolution.
What about utilizing experts?
It makes sense, in some cases, for mediation participants to retain mutually trusted experts. For example, participants may desire a valuation of real property, personal property, or a business. It is also not uncommon for mediating parties to choose to jointly consult with an accountant, appraiser, or tax expert. Mediation participants with parenting concerns may find it beneficial to obtain the thoughts and recommendations of a child psychologist. Mediation participants may choose to jointly retain an impartial advisory attorney who, based upon an agreed-upon set of facts, may render an advisory non-binding opinion on how a court might resolve the identified issues. Typically, this technique is used when the parties reach an impasse on a difficult issue.
What else can I do to prepare?
Perhaps the most important thing any mediating party can do to ensure a satisfying and successful mediation experience is to prepare for the mediation discussions by seeking clarity as to his or her own desired outcomes and perceived standards of fairness. Stated otherwise, “What do you want?” and “How will you know that it is alright to agree?”
Hiring Us for Mediation
ReSync is committed to providing a high quality, personalized experience for our clients. We encourage a collaborative approach, stressing mediation and negotiation whenever possible. We are experienced and compassionate, recognizing that every case is unique. Attorneys, mediators, staff, and clients work together as a team to resolve client disputes. Clients receive copies of each discovery document involving their case and are engaged throughout the process.
We also love kids and proudly offer a child-friendly office environment. Whenever children are involved in the legal process, our focus is on what is best for them.
Dispute Resolution Services, LLC
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