Mediation is a process in which opposing parties attempt to reach an agreement outside of court with the assistance of a neutral third party facilitator. This is an option for couples who do not have significant conflict and do not need to have their attorneys included in most discussions. The mediator does not make decisions, but works with both parties to help them find common ground for agreement. The mediator helps the parties to explore a variety of possible solutions suggested either by the parties or by the mediator.
If you are interested in having one of our attorneys act as your mediator, we would ask that the initial consultation be with both of you, so that the other party is not concerned about what might have been said behind their back to influence the mediator.
Our mediators do also ask that each party also have an attorney he or she can consult with for legal advice and who can prepare any legal documents that are needed.
Please note that what we are describing here is sometimes knows as “Early Mediation” – which is where the parties work with a mediator to try and get to resolution outside of a court based (litigation) process. In litigation there is also a process called a “Settlement Conference” where the parties and their attorneys meet with a mediator shortly before trial to see if they can come to agreement based on what they think the court is going to do. It is confusing, but that process is also sometimes referred to as mediation.
Mediation Support refers to the role we play as your attorney when you are working with an outside mediator. Typically when mediating each party has an attorney, often in the background, to advise, draft documents, and support them through the process. In some cases the attorney may come with the client to the mediation sessions. If the mediation process breaks down, then we can step into a more active role as your litigation representative. If you are interested in having one of us act as your attorney while you work with a mediator, we would be happy to suggest the names of mediators we recommend.