TOP TEN FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDIATION
1. What is mediation?
It is a voluntary process, under which you work through and resolve your issues. The parties make their own decisions and are assisted by the neutral mediator, whose role is to facilitate.
2. Who is the mediator?
The mediator should be accredited through formal training and have substantial dispute resolution experience. The mediator must be able to help with legal, financial, tax and emotional issues.
3. Why mediation as opposed to litigation?
There are many reasons people choose to mediate. Among them: mediation is non-adversarial, it is private, it is faster, it is cheaper, and it lets you control the issues, rather than having them dictated to you by a third party.
4. What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
Arbitration involves taking testimony, cross-examination of witnesses, presentation of other evidence, and a decision usually not appealable. By contrast, mediation is consensual. Either party may terminate mediation at any time, for any reason, or for no reason. Because mediation is cooperative, there are no surprises, appeals or disappointments.
5. What are “The Rules” in mediation?
Usually, a written mediation agreement is signed, requiring confidentiality. It addresses issues such as disclosure of information, voluntariness and the cost of mediation. The mediation typically ends with the mediator preparing a written Memorandum of Understanding. It is not signed, it is not a contract and it is not admissible in court.
6. Are there exceptions to mediation confidentiality?
Yes. There is no confidentiality for a crime or a fraud. Example: a secret financial account. Example: child abuse. Example: hidden cash. There are others, so if in doubt, ask your lawyer.
7. Where and when does the mediation take place?
Mediation sessions are flexible and scheduled to accommodate your needs. They usually take place at the mediator’s office at mutually convenient times during regular business hours.
8. Who attends mediation?
Each session is attended by both parties, sometimes in the presence of counsel. Occasionally, the mediator may meet with one party, then the other. Unless otherwise agreed, all communications with/to the mediator must be on notice to all.
9. What does mediation cost?
Mediators usually charge by the hour. In Northern New Jersey in 2013, experienced mediators have hourly rates generally ranging from a low of ±$300 to a high of ±$650. The experience, training, reputation and background of the mediator are all factors to consider.
10. What a mediator is NOT:
The mediator is not a Judge. The mediator is not an advocate for either party. The mediator does not make decisions. Instead, the mediator helps the parties decide all issues based on mutual consent.
If you have other questions, give a copy of this memo to your spouse, and call our office to schedule your first joint mediation session.
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