What is Mediation?
Mediation is a way to resolve disputes with the help of a professional experienced in law, communication, and legal procedures. Parties in conflict usually do not know where to begin in sorting out differences. When they sit down with a mediator who guides and supports them through the process, they save time and expense of attorneys paid to negotiate and communicate for them. Depending on the type of case, attorneys may or may not attend the mediation session.
Sessions are typically 2 hours long, and parties typically resolve their issues within 1-4 sessions total. It's not possible to predict how long a case will take to resolve, but this is the pace that most parties experience.
The fee for a mediation session is $250 per hour for custody only (split between the parties) and $300 per hour for divorce and economic issues (split between the parties).
The goal of the process is to come to a comprehensive legal agreement that encompasses all issues and results in an agreement that can be prepared for filing in court. There is a separate fee for preparation of the agreement.
Although parties receive independent legal advice from their separate attorneys, in mediation the attorneys' roles are limited to consultation and preparation and filing of documents. The expensive process of negotiation and communication is handled in mediation sessions, saving the clients attorneys' fees and giving them peace of mind knowing exactly what is being said.
Mediation is more efficient than the courtroom process. It is private and confidential, preserves important working relationships and allows for customized solutions not always available from court decisions. Mediation brings a final resolution avoiding appeals, new trials, or fruitless collection efforts. It is becoming increasingly popular as a way to resolve disputes about divorce, custody, changing families, product and professional liability, personal injury, wills and estates, employment disputes and business and financial conflicts.
Mediation is used by parties who are in conflict, whether their conflict is deep-rooted and hard to resolve or amicable. It is used by people to avoid going to court, or where a lawsuit has already been filed. It is not necessary for the parties to have a good working relationship or to trust each other. The mediator is trained and experienced in managing conflict and in working with high conflict couples and families. All that is required is the willingness to explore a solution that works for all parties. Even high-conflict participants can resolve disputes in Mediation because the mediator teaches them to work together to resolve their conflict. Instead of attacking each other in ways that cause permanent damage, the parties learn the importance of identifying their needs and interests while exploring available options.