I'm going to mediation and I have some questions...
Participant Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: How does mediation work?
A: In mediation a neutral party, the mediator, helps individuals in conflict define issues and explore solutions. In short, the mediator help you reach a practical, workable, and mutually satisfactory agreement to end your dispute. Mediation can help by saving the time and expense of going to court for everyone involved.
Q: How much will mediation through Early Settlement cost?
A: In cases where individuals have filed through the court system there is no additional cost. If the dispute has not been filed with the court there is a $5.00 fee for the Initiating Party and a $5.00 fee for the Responding Party.
Q: Will I be forced to make an agreement?
A: You will not be forced in any way to make an agreement in mediation. You determine when the mediation is concluded. Most people do resolve at least some of their issues in mediation.
Q: Who will I be talking to during the mediation?
A: Both parties will primarily be talking to the mediator. If your attorney attends with you, you may speak with your attorney also. The mediator will greatly limit any direct conversation between the disputing parties. Only when both parties are working positively toward a resolution will the mediator allow any discussion between the parties.
Q: Is information from my mediation confidential?
A: Absolutely. All parties involved in the mediation sign a confidentiality agreement prior to beginning the mediation. All written product from the mediation is collected and destroyed by the mediator at the end of the session. The only information remaining from the mediation session is the agreement when one has been reached. If no agreement is reached, information from the mediation cannot be used in future legal proceedings.
Q: How should I prepare for mediation?
A: Bring any information you would take if going to court on the matter. For example, if there are debts owed, bring information pertaining to the amounts owed.
Most importantly, come to mediation with ideas for possible solutions but also with an open mind and willingness to listen. The more you each learn about the others' perspectives the easier it will be to find a solution.
Q: My mediation date is set. Why have I been asked to call for a pre-screening?
A: In certain cases, like family and divorce mediation, a pre-screening is required. The screening allows our office to make sure mediation is appropriate in your specific case. If, for instance, violence has been a part of the marital relationship, mediation is probably not appropriate.
Q: What is my role in mediation if my attorney is attending?
A: It is not uncommon for attorneys to attend mediation with their clients. We encourage you to coordinate with your attorney prior to mediation to prepare for the session. There are different types and structures of mediation. With Early Settlement Mediation the parties take a primary role in the discussion. The attorney's role is somewhat limited since they will not be addressing either the other party or the other party's attorney.
Q: Can I bring someone with me to the mediation?
A: If you plan on having someone in mediation with you please contact the Early Settlement office as soon as possible. Both parties to the mediation must agree to all additional attendees prior to the mediation date. All parties attending the mediation are required to sign a confidentiality agreement.
Q: How long will the mediation last?
A: The length of your mediation depends on many factors. Be prepared to stay a minimum of three hours. If your mediation involves many types of issues the mediation can last five or six hours. A second session can be scheduled if necessary.