Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Do I Start the Mediation Process?

First, you and the other party should try to discuss mediation as an option to resolving your dispute without a lawsuit, or to avoid an upcoming hearing or trial date if a lawsuit is already underway.

Second, one or both parties can contact the potential mediator to schedule a date and time for mediation.

Third, if one party is hesitant about mediation, the mediator can call the uncertain party (or the uncertain party can call the mediator) to discuss mediation as an alternative to litigation and to discuss the process as well as the mediator's neutral role in the process.

Fourth, if it is a civil matter (non-criminal and non-family law dispute) the parties prepare mediation briefs providing all relevant facts of the dispute as well as the legal issues being disputed. (See prior post on mediation briefs)

Fifth, show up at the mediation location on time, keep a level head, treat everyone respectfully, work collaboratively with the help of the mediator to find the solutions needed and memorialize the solutions into a written and signed Settlement Agreement.

If yours is a family law case, expect between two and six mediation sessions to get all issues resolved (custody, visitation, child support, spousal support, asset and debt division, pensions.)

If your dispute has already been filed as a lawsuit, the lawsuit would be dismissed once the Settlement Agreement is in hand and the terms of the Agreement have been satisfied.

That's how the mediation process gets started and that's how it ends a dispute. The sooner you get started, the sooner your disputes will be over. What are you waiting for?

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