Mediation is the process by which parties, with attorneys if desired, meet with a trained neutral person to attempt to resolve their dispute without having to go to court. A mediation is an excellent opportunity to resolve your dispute on your terms.
The two main types of mediations are caucus and conference mediations. During a caucus mediation, the parties are separated and the mediator meets with each side individually. A conference mediation entails both parties, their attorneys if desired, and the mediator meeting together in one room. The goal of mediation is to create a plan that both parties agree to and can live with. If the parties cannot come to an agreement during mediation, the disputed issues will be submitted to the court, and the judge will make a determination as to what if fair and equitable.
Unless the parties negotiate a settlement or agreement prior to mediation, the law requires mediation before temporary hearings, hearings on contempt issues, and final matters in divorces and custody proceedings. A party may avoid mediation if they can demonstrate that there has been a history of domestic abuse. The reason this is an exception is because the control and fear typically associated with domestic abuse may destroy the ability of the parties to negotiate fairly.
Mediation is also an excellent option for parties to resolve their issues before a petition has been filed. Mediation helps open the channels of communication to allow each party to consider the other party’s position and decide whether a resolution can be found. Generally, if the parties work together, there will be less anxiety, stress, and money spent on the dispute.
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