Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Mediation?
Mediation is an informal process that allows two or more individuals involved in a dispute to meet in a private, confidential setting with the help of a neutral third party (the mediator) to develop a solution to their problem. [LINK TO “WHAT IS MEDIATION? PAGE]
How Does Mediation Work?
Each party describes the dispute from his or her own point of view, outlines what they would like to achieve and why, and the mediator helps everyone generate options that may lead to a resolution. The mediator is not a judge, and does not decide who is “right.” The parties are under no obligation to reach an agreement. Whether or not to settle the dispute in mediation is entirely voluntary, and the Court will not know what took place during the mediation. If the parties do not reach an agreement in mediation, the case will continue along toward trial.
How Does Mediation Affect My Legal Rights?
Whether or not you reach an agreement in mediation, your legal rights remain intact. Parties are strongly encouraged to seek legal advice regarding their conflict prior to participating in mediation. Mediators do not provide legal advice, represent parties, or testify at any subsequent hearings that may result if the case is not resolved in mediation. Lawyers are encouraged to attend mediation, but it is common for parties to attend without their lawyer present. Agreements reached in mediation are legally binding, however, if the parties do not reach an agreement, the case will proceed.
Are There Cases That Should Not Be Mediated?
Mediation is not appropriate where one party uses fear, force, threats, violence, or intimidation,or in cases where there is ongoing domestic violence or substance abuse. If you have been ordered to try mediation and feel that mediation is not appropriate for your matter, immediately bring your concerns to the attention of the your attorney or the Court.
How Do I Begin The Process?
If you have an attorney, ask him or her about mediating your case. Your attorney can help you select a mediator, or you may contact a mediator or the dispute resolution center directly. If the other party agrees to the mediate, either the mediator or dispute resolution center will schedule a mediation session.