Mediation is a process where parties and their attorneys meet with a third party - called a mediator - in an effort to reach an agreement without going through the time an expense of a trial or hearing.
Unlike a judge or arbitrator, a mediator cannot force the parties to do anything. The mediator simply attempts to broker an agreement acceptable to all those involved.
Mediation is often required for parties that have filed a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage (divorce petition) or a Petition to Establish Paternity, Parenting Plan and Child Support (paternity petition). It may also be required when parties seek to modify or enforce a prior judgment.
Mediation is, generally, a confidential process. Parties can negotiate without fear. If an agreement is not reached the other party cannot argue in court that you were willing to agree to any matter in mediation.
In a typical mediation session, the parties and their attorneys all meet with the mediator, who makes introductory comments concerning the process and confidentiality. The parties or their attorneys are then allowed to make an opening statement. Usually the attorneys simply the issues of the case are their positions on these issues. Afterwards, the parties are separated and the mediator meets with each individually, repeating the process in an attempt to reach an agreement. If an agreement is not reached, the mediator declares an impasse and the session ends.
Even in complex or highly contested situations, mediation often allows a case to be resolved without the time and expense of going to trial.
Many people think they can go into mediation, see what happens, and then - if it does not work out - hire an attorney. The agreements are binding. Without an expert in your situation to help, you are at a disadvantage that could be extremely costly.
If you are going through a family law matter in which mediation is a requirement, call us today for a free consultation and to learn how our experience in handling such matters will benefit you.
The Office of William J. McClellan will stand by your side through any family need. Call now to get started on your case.