Mediation Q & A

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January 21, 2011

Mediation can be an efficient and cost effective method for resolving your case. The following are commonly asked question regarding the mediation process:

Q: What is mediation?

A: Mediation is a method of negotiation involving a neutral third party (the mediator) in which an attempt is made to reach a settlement agreeable to both parties. The mediator listens to both party’s positions and attempts to assist the parties in identifying areas which can be negotiated. The mediator will not offer legal advice. Some counties require the parties to attend mediation when custody and parenting time are an issue.

Q: What are the advantages of mediation?

A: Mediation has many advantages. First, mediation is confidential. The mediator may not be called as a witness to testify as to statements you have made during the course of negotiations. Second, mediation allows the parties an opportunity to resolve their dispute without the financial and emotional expense of a trial. Third, even if a settlement is not reached through mediation, the process assists the parties and their attorneys in narrowing the issues which ultimately must be tried in court.

Q: Who is present at mediation?

A: The parties can attend mediation with or without an attorney.

Q: Is a mediated agreement binding?

A: Mediated agreements are not binding and enforceable agreements unless the agreement is recited on the record before a judge or a court reporter, or if the parties sign an order to be submitted to the court. If you attend mediation without your attorney, it is not wise to sign any agreement until you have conferred with your attorney.

Remember, every case is different. Generally, for mediation to be an option, both parties must be willing to negotiate. In addition, the existence of a Family Abuse Restraining Order (FARA) can be an obstacle to mediation. If you are interested in exploring mediation, contact your attorney to learn more about the process as it applies to you.