What is mediation?
Mediation is the process of “assisted negotiation.” In the context of a divorce or other family dispute, mediation is often a cost-effective and forward-thinking alternative to litigation (hiring lawyers and going to court). Those involved in a dispute retain one or more neutral mediators, whose entire job it is to assist in the resolution process and to help find common ground. Mediation is voluntary, private and confidential. A cornerstone to the process is that those involved retain complete control over their issues, rather than giving the issues over to third parties, such as judges or divorce lawyers. These differences from traditional family law litigation are what often draw people to mediation, since keeping control of these very personal and emotional issues can be so crucial to those involved.
Melissa Mondschain Mediation Partners practices solely in the area of family mediation. They are committed to assisting those in conflict to reach their goals, resolve their issues, and move forward in their lives.
What type of complimentary skills and traits make for effective Mediators?
Although the mediation process is largely handled out of court, many of the issues involved in family disputes are of a legal and business nature. Additionally, and somewhat unique to issues involving the family, they can be highly charged emotionally and often very personal. For a Mediator team to be fully effective, the Mediators would therefore be experienced in areas relating to law and business, as well as in areas focused on the emotional well being of all those involved, including children and other family members.
Is Mediation confidential?
Mediation is both confidential and private.
Do people using Mediation have lawyers?
Typically, Mediators recommend that those going through the process each be represented by his/her own lawyer. There likely will be various legal issues that present during the mediation process, and even though a mediator may be an attorney, he/she is not serving as an attorney during the mediation process and does not represent any party’s interests.
Who attends the mediation sessions?
Both parties and the Mediator is present during the sessions. Some Mediators may at times hold sessions with one party individually. Further, there can be times when attorneys and/or others are present, with the approval of all parties and the Mediators.
Is the length of the mediation process pre-determined, and how often are the sessions?
The length of the process can vary, except in circumstances where a court has ordered a set time frame. Typically, at the onset of the process, once the issues are laid, out the Mediators may be able to offer a prediction regarding how long the mediation may take. However, due to the fact that each set of issues is unique and subject to changing circumstances, estimating can be difficult. Each session will typically last for two hours, with some sessions requiring slightly more or less time depending on the circumstances. Mediations can be scheduled weekly, monthly or variably depending on the needs and availability of the participants.
Is Mediation less costly than going to court?
In many cases, mediation can be far less expensive than traditional litigation. Since the parties retain control over the process, they can more easily monitor both costs and time spent. Further, the collateral costs associated with the process can be far less than going to court to resolve a dispute.