The Court is almost never the best option to resolve a dispute. You know everything that has happened in the issue, but at most, the judge will only hear 25% of it. Not only that, but it will only be the bad things that the judge hears, not all of your positive aspects that you can build on.
Mediation allows you to be in control of your future. In court, the judge makes a decision and you have no say in what is going to happen. In mediation, you come to an agreement that will work for long term results. A plan that you help create, not a plan that is forced upon you.
Is Mediation Right For Me?
Do you want to reach a resolution to your conflict without having to go to trial? Do you want to have the peace of mind knowing that you have some control over the outcome? Are you willing to work hard to reach a positive outcome? If your answer to those questions is yes, then mediation is right for you. You do not need an attorney (though you are certainly welcome to have one), just yourself and a willingness to solve a problem.
What Does a Mediator Do?
The mediator is the neutral person to help you and any the other person make lasting decisions. The mediator is not on anyone’s side. A mediator is specially trained to help you reach your goals. That means that a mediator helps you set rules of helpful communication, helps you understand the options, and can help generate options, too. You will be heard in mediation, and be respected. The mediator is there to help both people listen and cooperate to reach a solution.
At the beginning of the mediation, we will set communication rules. These may include things like don’t blame the other person, or listen until the other person is finished speaking before you respond. Next, we will develop an agenda of the issues we need to discuss. For a family law case, this may include parenting time, child support, and decision making. Then, the mediator will help you move into brainstorming mode. You should come prepared with many ideas of what might work for you and the other person. Then, we start working on combining ideas so that we can reach a resolution that everyone can agree to. Once we reach agreements, we will write them down and sign them.
When Should I Mediate?
You can mediate at any time, even if there is not a court case. Neighbors with a dispute, family members who disagree, parents who are separating or need to modify orders, anyone can mediate. If you must file with a court to make it official, it is often better to mediate before filing. Your case will go faster and smoother if you already have an agreement. You can also mediate after a case has been filed in court. Most courts require mediation before you can go to trial, and I am happy to help you get real results, instead of wasting your time.
What Do I Need To Bring to Mediation?
The most important thing you need to bring is a positive attitude that you can solve this problem. If you believe that a solution is possible, then usually it is.
When you hire me as a mediator, I will send you a document that will help you think through all of your options. It includes questions about what is important to you, and what is important to any other people who may be affected by the mediation. Please fill that out the best of your ability, so you have prepared yourself with ideas.
If there is already a court case, you need to bring any court documents that you have already filed. You must bring any and all evidence you have. Just like a court can’t make a final decision without all the evidence, we can’t make a final decision without all the important information.
The only people who should be present are those with direct decision making capacity. If it is a family case, only the parents and their attorneys are allowed. Step-parents, grandparents, and children are not allowed. If it is a different type of case, we will be sure that we have identified the correct people before we begin.