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Mediation FAQ

Is mediation the right process for me?

Mediation is not always appropriate for every person or situation. Mediated agreements tend to result from meetings where participants are willing to express themselves while demonstrating respect for the other party. A skilled mediator can help parties assess their situation to determine if the mediation process would be an appropriate way to resolve the dispute.

Is mediation legally binding?

Because mediation is a completely voluntary process, any agreements made are not binding, unless the parties wish so make them so. Any party can leave the mediation if he or she feels it is not working for that party. If the parties enter into a written agreement that has been developed during the mediation, that written agreement is likely to be a binding contract.

 Are mediation agreements enforceable?

Yes, mediated agreement can be legally enforceable after being memorialize in a legal format and signed, but only after the parties have approved the terms and had ample opportunity to review the agreement with legal counsel.

Is the mediation process confidential?

Yes. Mediator will keep all the information discussed in the mediation sessions confidential as oppose to litigation where everything becomes part of the public record. This is one of the big differences between mediation and litigation. Mediation is considered settlement negotiations. Most mediations end successfully, without litigation. However, in the rare event that the mediation ends and litigation takes place, a party cannot force a mediator to reveal his or her file or testify in court. All participants in the mediation process will be required to sign a contract which contains a provision addressing confidentiality.

What is the role of attorneys in mediation?

A mediator, even if that mediator is an attorney, does not represent either or both of the parties, but rather functions as a neutral facilitator. Mediators can provide legal information, but cannot give legal advice. If participants in mediation are not already represented by an attorney, mediators generally recommend that each party consult with a reviewing attorney in order to review any agreements arising from the mediator on that party’s behalf. “Mediation friendly” reviewing attorneys understand the value of mediation for their clients, and can provide useful input to their client and to the mediator. The cost of mediation, even using reviewing attorneys, is generally much lower than the alternatives.

How long does mediation take, and how much does it cost?

A retainer fee will be discussed and the amount will be dependent upon the practice area being mediated. The mediators’ hourly charge will be deducted from the retainer. Time is charged for mediation sessions, and also the work that is done between sessions, such as writing agreements. The complexity of the case and the personality and history of the participants will cause a mediation to take more or less hours.