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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mediator? How is a mediator different than a judge or attorney?

A mediator is a neutral, third party who works with parties in conflict to help facilitate a mutually satisfactory agreement.

A mediator does not render a decision like a judge or arbitrator or advocate for a particular position or participant like an attorney. A mediator works in a non-biased way with all participants and has no interest in the outcome.

Why choose mediation? What are its benefits?

Mediation is a confidential, voluntary process that can serve as an alternative or supplement to traditional legal remedies. Mediation provides a safe, confidential forum for participants to explore the possibility of crafting their own agreement with terms that ideally serve their best interests. A mediated agreement is not typically constrained by the rigid guidelines of litigation and other traditional forums.

Is a mediation agreement legally binding?

A mediated agreement is typically a written, signed agreement between all affected parties. It is as binding as any other written, signed contract.

At what stage/when can I mediate?

Mediation can occur at any point of an ongoing conflict. While mediation sometimes serves as an alternative to legal remedies, it may also serve as a supplement to an ongoing process. A mediation session can help kick-start stalled negotiations or clear problematic issues off the table and allow the parties to focus on viable agreement options.

I already have an attorney; can I still utilize mediation?

Absolutely. Attorneys and other interested parties often bring valuable perspective to the discussion.

What happens if we can’t resolve our issue through mediation?

In select circumstances, parties may be able to schedule a second or subsequent mediation to continue exploring the possibility of agreement. However, in those cases where an agreement has not been reached, parties are free to continue their discussion in the appropriate legal or contractual venue.

We have been fighting for years. How is mediation different?

By introducing a seasoned, impartial third party into the discussion, participants are often able to move from their opposing positions toward an open discussion about their needs and interests. A mediator is trained to ask questions and highlight matters of importance for all participants in a way that helps them explore agreement options that are both feasible and best serve their interests in a safe, confidential environment.

Can you convince the other party to agree to my position or needs?

No. A mediator is a neutral third party tasked with facilitating a potential agreement between parties in conflict. A mediator does not judge or advocate for a particular position.

The Process

Who pays you? How does the fee structure work?

Fees can vary depending on the time involved and complexity of the dispute. Disputing parties bear the fee burden equally.

Who will be in the room?

All interested parties and, if applicable, their legal representation should attend. Any questions about potential attendees can be discussed and resolved during the initial conference preceding the actual mediation.

How long will it take?

The amount of time needed for mediation varies depending on the complexity of the dispute. A reasonable estimate is typically provided at the initial consultation prior to the actual mediation.

Do you provide suggestions?

No. A facilitative mediator serves as an impartial third party who can help the disputing parties navigate the issues at hand. Because it is so important to remain impartial, the mediator must refrain from influencing the outcome other than to facilitate and support an open dialogue.