Mediation Questions & Answers

  1. What is Mediation?
    Mediation is a process used to resolve differences. It is a confidential, private and informal yet structured facilitated discussion. During mediation both parties each have an opportunity to talk about needs and issues. As the mediator, I listen to all the concerns raised, help you identify and explore possible solutions, and support you in working toward agreements that are clear, lasting, and agreeable to both parties.
  2. What is Not Mediation
    Mediation is NOT court. It is NOT a public trial with witnesses, not marriage counseling nor a time to rehash the past. As a mediator, I do NOT judge, take sides or decide what should happen. Most importantly, mediation is NOT a contest. It IS a different way to resolve disputes, a time to get parties together quickly, safely, informally and privately, to make decisions for themselves, about their future.
  3. What types of cases are well-suited for Mediation?
    Disputes between friends, business partners, employers/employees, neighbors, family members, co-workers, acquaintances, roommates, spouses, parents/children, contractors, colleagues…in short, any situation whether personal, professional or legal, where a conflict is causing stress and where resolution of the conflict is important to one or more of the parties.
  4. How should I prepare for Mediation?
    Before mediation, think about key issues that need decisions, and think about what information you need to share with the other party in order to make those decisions. Think also about what issues the other party might raise, and then about various options for settlement. I usually talk with each party before mediation by phone, to introduce myself, schedule mediation, and answer any questions about the mediation process.
    • Come prepared to discuss the issues and your ideas about solutions
    • Bring paperwork or essential documents that you may need during mediation
    • Give yourself room to negotiate; if you make an offer and stick to it the whole time, no matter what you hear or learn during the mediation, you'll probably get frustrated. Some give and take, some willingness to compromise in order to get unstuck from previous positions is usually needed.
    • Avoid ultimatums - you might paint yourself into a corner you can't get out of
    • Treat the other person respectfully; insults and put-downs undermine the mediation.
  5. How long does Mediation take?
    The length is difficult to predict and depends on the complexity and the number of issues you have. I usually schedule 2- hour sessions. At the end of that time, we talk about whether mediation is helpful, and if so, we then schedule the next session.
  6. Do I need a lawyer?
    It is important for parties to have access to accurate legal information, to enable you to make good, informed decisions. There are many attorneys who support the mediation process. Sometimes people come to mediation with attorneys, and sometimes not, depending on their preference and whether the issues are more personal or legal in nature. I am an attorney; however, as a mediator I do not give legal advice. I encourage parties to review potential agreements with their attorneys before signing. If a case is pending in court, once you reach a mediated agreement, it may be essential to have an attorney prepare court documents and official papers, such as a Separation Agreement, Consent Order, real estate documents or buy-out contract.
  7. What does Mediation cost?
    I charge an hourly fee in most mediation cases. The fee is payable by check or cash at the end of each session. Unless there is agreement otherwise, the fee is shared equally between the parties. I don't charge a retainer fee for mediation, and there is no obligation to continue using mediation. I want to work with you as long as you think mediation is productive and helpful.
    My goal is to provide professional, respectful, useful services to help you decrease stress in your life and make decisions for yourself, so you can embrace the future with greater ease and quality of life.
  8. Will I be in the same room with the other person the whole time during Mediation?
    During mediation it's often helpful for the mediator to meet separately with parties. This gives people a chance to take a break and gives the mediator an opportunity to explore ideas that may help you reach settlement. Since each mediation is unique, it's hard to know whether separate meeting time will be useful in your case. If you have thoughts you want to share in private during the mediation, or if you need to take a break, let me know and we can arrange for that to happen.
  9. What's the difference between Mediation and Arbitration?
    In arbitration the arbitrator renders a judgment and decides what will happen; it is a private judging. In mediation the mediator helps you discuss concerns and decide for yourself how you want to resolve them; it is a facilitated negotiation, a private, un-coerced consensus process.
  10. Who should consider using Mediation?
    • Anyone who doesn't want to spend the time, money, or emotional strain required in going to court
    • Anyone who wants to determine their own outcome
    • Anyone for whom privacy and/or confidentiality are important
    • Anyone who has been unable to resolve their dispute by negotiating on their own
    • Anyone who wants to address a conflict in a way that rebuilds or preserves relationships (parents, business associates, neighbors, friends, family, etc.)
  11. Does Mediation really work?
    YES – while I cannot guaranty success in mediation, in over 90% of the cases mediated, parties reach a voluntary agreement and are able to resolve their differences. These agreements are lasting because the parties themselves craft them, and are invested in making them work.
  12. What Are the Advantages of Mediation?
    • Economics – mediation is usually less expensive than litigation.
    • Stress Reduction – not only does mediation usually cost less money, it also is less emotionally taxing than going to court, ignoring the problem in hopes that it will go away, or continuing the argument. Mediation can help repair and preserve relationships, or make the ending of a relationship more amicable.
    • Quick Settlements – mediation can be scheduled at your convenience and usually takes much less time than going through an administrative or legal process. Since we can schedule mediation to match your schedule, you may not need to miss work to come to mediation.
    • Control & Predictability – Parties who negotiate their own settlements have ultimate control over the outcome. YOU decide what you agree to, and you know for certain what the outcome is. Mediated agreements are tailored for your needs and can include a detailed plan for implementation.
    • Durable Decisions – Mediated settlements withstand the test of time because they are mutual agreements, designed by the people directly affected by the outcomes.
    • Closure – people generally find it helpful and healing to have closure on their legal and personal issues.