Mediation is one of the less formal alternatives to litigation that involves impartial third party or panel that intervenes to promote the resolution of the dispute or grievance.
HOW DOES MEDIATION WORK?
At the beginning of the formal mediation, the mediator explains their role, the confidential nature of the proceedings, any ground rules, the benefits of mediation, and the procedural steps that will be followed, if any.
During the fact-gathering stage, the mediator will begin to define the issues, helping the parties to focus on the issues rather than their positions.
Once a tentative agreement is reached, the mediator clarifies the terms of the agreement and makes sure all parties understand the terms of this agreement. The agreement is then prepared in writing.
In general, both spouses will initially sit down and write out their goals, noting specifically what problems they anticipate where custody and support are concerned. The parties will complete their financial disclosures in a sworn statement. The mediator will then examine the issues and determine how far apart the spouses are. From there, the mediator will work close to divide the assets and establish support payments. If, however, one spouse doesn’t like the way that mediation is going, he or she has every right to consult with an attorney. Once all the issues are settled, the mediator will write out a divorce settlement, which will need to be looked over by an attorney. Once it has, each spouse will be asked to sign the agreement and submit it to a court.
1. Definition of Mediation. Mediation is a process under which an impartial person, the Mediator, facilitates communication between the parties to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding among them. The mediator may suggest ways of resolving the dispute.
2. Authority of Mediator. The Mediator does not have the authority to decide any issue for the parties, but will attempt to facilitate the voluntary resolution of the dispute by the parties. The Mediator is authorized to conduct joint and separate meetings with the parties and to offer suggestions to assist the parties in achieving settlement. If necessary, the Mediator may also obtain expert advice concerning technical aspects of the dispute, provided that the parties agree and assume the expenses of obtaining such advice.
3. Commitment to Participate in Good Faith. While no one is asked to commit to settle their case in advance of mediation, all parties commit to participate in the proceedings in good faith with the intention to settle, if at all possible.
4. Parties Responsible for Negotiating Their Own Settlement. The parties understand that the Mediator will not and cannot impose a settlement in their case and agree that they are responsible for negotiating a settlement acceptable to them. The Mediator, as an advocate for settlement, will use every effort to facilitate the negotiations of the parties. The Mediator does not warrant or represent that settlement will result from the mediation process.
5. Identification of Matters in Dispute. Prior to the first scheduled mediation session, each party shall provide the Mediator with an Information Sheet and Request for Mediation on the form provided by the Mediator, setting forth its positions with regard to the issues that need to be resolved.
6. At or before the first session, the parties will be expected to produce all information reasonably required for the Mediator to understand the issues presented. The Mediator may require any party to supplement such information.
7. Mediation Sessions are Private. The parties and their representatives may attend mediation sessions. Other persons may attend only with the permission of the parties and with the consent of the Mediator.
8. Confidentially. Confidential information disclosed to a Mediator by the parties or by witnesses in the course of the mediation shall not be divulged by the Mediator. All records, reports, or other documents received by a mediator while serving in that capacity shall be confidential. The Mediator shall not be compelled to divulge such records or to testify in regard to the mediation in an adversary proceeding or judicial forum. Any party that violates this agreement shall pay all fees and expenses of the Mediator and other parties, including reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in opposing the efforts to compel testimony or records from the Mediator. There shall be no record recorded, handwritten notes, or any form of recording of the mediation process.
9. Termination of Mediation. The mediation shall be terminated: a) by the execution of a settlement agreement by the parties; b) by declaration of the Mediator to the effect that further efforts at mediation are no longer worthwhile; or c) after the completion of one full mediation session, by a written declaration of a party or parties to the effect that the mediation proceedings are terminated.