Resolving Pressing Issues
Sometimes it is necessary for the mediator to assist parties to resolve "pressing issues" simply so they can have breathing time and sufficient comfort to do a good job reaching agreement on the full range of their substantive issues. What is also true is that, for some parties, "all of the issues are pressing issues." Using discretion, the mediator may want to suggest that certain interim agreements be reached simply to allow the parties to comfortably and competently mediate. Parties will often be hesitant to reach such agreements fearing that they will set dangerous precedent for themselves. They may also fear reaching interim agreements that, with fuller consideration of the issue, turn out to be clearly inadequate or inappropriate resolutions.
To address these types of concerns and to allow "pressing issues" to be resolved as easily and quickly as possible, it is recommended that pressing issues be resolved according to the following guidelines:
- The resolutions shall be interim only, either for the duration of the mediation or until the parties agree otherwise or a court orders otherwise;
- The resolutions shall not set precedent in any way nor be admissible in any court or other contested proceeding, except for enforcement, if necessary; and
- The eventual resolution to the issue, be that by the parties' agreement or court order, shall be retroactively applied to the beginning date of the interim agreement, to the extent that this can be accomplished. (Thus, for example, if the parties agree to interim wages of $4,000 monthly and their eventual agreement or the court's order or judgment is $5,000 monthly, then there would be a payment of $1,000 additional for each month of the interim agreement.)