How Do People Find A Good Mediator?

In a court appointed system, the court would appoint a mediator and the parties would not have a choice. If the parties hire a private mediator, the attorneys would usually discuss who they wanted to use as a mediator and they would make a joint decision regarding who to use.

If for some reason there was so much animosity the parties could not agree on a mediator, then we would have to do a motion and the judge would choose someone. In most cases the parties are able to agree on one, however.

The mediator should be somebody who has practiced law and someone with a level of legal experience. This person would have a better understanding of what was going on in the dispute between parties.

Do Both Parties Generally Meet The Mediator Together?

This would depend upon who the parties are. It would often be more productive to keep everything separate in mediation and have the mediator go back and forth between the parties. Most people do not think logically and may not be able to control themselves when they are in front of the other party.

We prefer to remove that emotional component from the mediation so we can just get down to the details, divide up everything and move on. Although there are times where we do keep the parties together.

I have handled pro se mediations where the parties were not represented by counsel and I have also handled mediations where all parties were in the same room for the whole conference. I did not need to separate them. We went back and forth and discussed all the issues, and once everything was agreed to, I typed up an agreement and we were done.

Parties Do Not Have To Always Be Together During Mediation

At the beginning of the mediation, unless there is really bad animosity or domestic violence issues, I usually like to put everybody in the same room to start. I do an introduction and a little speech where I explain the rules of mediation to the parties.

Sometimes I let the attorneys give a little intro and then at that point I usually separate the parties and start going back and forth between everyone.

It Would Be Better If Parties Had Their Own Attorneys

There is no rule that states the parties would have to have an attorney to go to mediation. However, it is advisable to have counsel. If for some reason a party cannot afford representation for the mediation, it is usually good for them to have at least a consultation prior to mediation .

Having An Attorney During Mediation Can Help Avoid Agreeing To The Wrong Thing

One of the dangers of not having an attorney is that one party could agree to something that is not in his or her favor, because they did not have an attorney advising them. Or you could have the reverse where someone might not agree to a really good deal because they did not know it because they did not have legal advice.

For example, there could be a situation where somebody was requesting a certain amount of alimony in a case but the other party decided they did not want to pay it. An attorney could advise their client that if they went to court, the judge would award something better, so they should refuse the offer and they will end up in a better position.

What I Bring To The Table During A Mediation?

I am experienced both as an attorney and as a mediator. Every case is different, but people tend to have certain patterns, so I am able to design ways of resolving matters that other people may not have thought about. I try to help the parties come up with their own solutions.

I manage the energy of mediation very well. In family situations, there are different relationships between each person in the room. There is the relationship between the clients, the clients and their attorneys and there is a relationship between the attorneys themselves. All of this needs to be managed. I separate the groups if needed and then pull them back together when the time is right.

It is all about experience.

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