Mediation is a confidential process in which a neutral professional is hired to assist parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. Mediation can be conducted with or without legal representation. The mediation starts with conversations between the parties and the mediator. Some may involve the parties being together in the same room with the mediator, while others may involve private conversations between the mediator, each party, and their lawyer.
When considering mediation, you should carefully consider whether proceeding with or without legal counsel is best for you and your circumstances. You have the option to interview mediators to ensure that you feel comfortable and can work effectively with the mediator. If you select a mediator who is not familiar with family law matters, you may be less likely to fully resolve your case.
Mediation can take place before legal action is formally undertaken or can proceed at any time prior to the trial of a case. Either party can request mediation and in some counties the court may require that the parties submit to mediation prior to scheduling a date for trial of the matter. For many, mediation can expedite resolution, conserve valuable financial resources, and enhance the parties’ ability to address issues of most concern.
The role of a mediator is not to force you into a settlement or tell you what to do. The mediator is a neutral party who guides you in settlement negotiations and assists both parties in understanding the different choices and potential outcomes. As a mediator, Michelle will not take sides, so you must be prepared to make decisions on your own behalf.
Mediation will not work if either party refuses to cooperate with the process. If you walk into mediation believing the process will fail or refusing to openly participate, you will find failure of your own creation. The parties must approach mediation with an open mind and an intention to resolve their outstanding issues.
If mediation is unsuccessful and you are unable to negotiate an agreement, you can pursue your case at a hearing. Mediation may help you resolve some of the outstanding issues, reducing the time it takes to litigate the remaining disputes. Even a partial mediated agreement can help save you time and money.
Types of Medation
Mediation options offered by Michelle Strause include:
- Pre-marital Mediation (Before Marriage)
- Legal Separation Mediation
- Divorce Mediation
- Paternity Mediation
- Parenting Plan Mediation
- Custody and Visitation Mediation
- Child Support and Spousal Support Mediation