Frequently Asked Questions Concerning Mediation
What is mediation?
Mediation is a chance for individuals in a dispute to jointly resolve issues as they see fit. Mediation is typically required in both Family Law and Personal Injury cases prior to having a case heard by the court or a jury. While some may view mediation as simply a hurdle to get before the court, in truth, mediation is a useful tool for purposes of negotiating and disposing of some or all of the issues in a case. Further, there is no resolution in mediation unless all the parties agree. Unlike having a judge or a jury decide your case, in mediation you are the ultimate judge of whether an agreement will be reached or not.
Is there a cheaper way to mediate?
Mediation can be expensive. Most private mediators charge anywhere between $200 to $400 an hour. When this is added to the time paid to the attorneys for their presence, it can be a costly day. However, for parties who earn less than $100,000.00 combined annual income, some counties allow county mediation. The price for county mediation is on a sliding scale but is often limited to a three hour session.
What is caucusing?
Caucusing, as used in mediation, is a fancy way of saying “split into other rooms.” While mediation communication is confidential, the use of a caucus creates yet another level of confidentiality wherein what is shared with the mediator cannot be shared with the other side unless he or she in instructed to communicate it.
Do I have to be in the same room as the other party?
Absolutely not. This may slow down the process. It might even annoy others in the process. However, if you do not feel comfortable, safe, or if being in the same room can compromise possible resolution, you need to advise your attorney of these feelings.
Do I have to mediate in good faith?
There is no duty to mediate in good faith. Once the mediator finishes his or her instructions you can stand up and leave if you wish. The court is never told how long a mediation lasted or who ended a mediation. Such behavior, though, is rather counter-productive and it acts to deprive you of the benefit of learning information during mediation and possibly resolving or narrowing issues.
What will the court learn about the mediation?
The court will be told that the parties attended mediation and that the case either resolved, partially resolved, or impassed (failure to reach an agreement). If a full or partial agreement is reached, the terms will typically be communicated with the attachment of a settlement agreement. No other details are disclosed.