In mediation, you and the other party, as well as your attorneys, hire a third party, the mediator, to meet with you in an effort to discuss and resolve your issues. The mediator does not make decisions for you. Instead, he or she serves as a facilitator to help you and the other party figure out a solution that addresses everyone’s concerns. Mediation can be used in many different types of domestic relations cases, such as divorce and child custody.
The mediation will usually occur in the mediator’s office so as to have a neutral location for both parties. Each mediator has his or her own style as to approach. For instance, some mediators like to have an initial conversation with each party separately before the first meeting, while others prefer to have the first interaction occur at the first meeting with all parties present. Next, during the mediation process, the mediator will let both parties state their case and ask questions accordingly. The mediator may attempt to break the situation down into smaller parts to best reach a solution.
As previously mentioned, your lawyer may be present during the mediation. Since the mediator is a neutral third party, having your lawyer present can help you feel that someone is present who is on your side. As such, your lawyer will be able to calm your nerves, help remind you of your goals and needs for the outcome of your case, and help answer any legal questions you have during the mediation.
If mediation results in a solution, either the mediator or one of the attorneys for the parties will write an agreement, and in some instances a parenting schedule or parenting plan. These documents will then be incorporated into the rest of your case paperwork and will become part of your judgment, whether it be divorce, custody, or other domestic relations case. This means that a court could enforce the agreement made through mediation.
Benefits of Mediation
- Mediation can be less expensive than a court trial or a series of hearings
- Mediation is confidential without a public record of what occurred in your sessions
- Mediation allows you to arrive at a solution based on both parties’ ideas of what is fair to their situation, instead of having a solution imposed on you by a judge or jury
- Your lawyer may be present to provide legal advice
These are just some of the benefits that may come out of the mediation process. However, there are also possible negatives to consider. Mediation may cause further hurt feelings or conflict. Also, if mediation does not result in an agreement, you will still have to go through the court system.
If you and your spouse are contemplating divorce, please contact the attorneys at Vayman & Teitelbaum. Our dedicated attorneys will discuss the process of mediation with you to decide whether or not it is a viable option for your specific situation. If so, we will help guide you through this process.