Dealing with domestic disputes is frequently painful and usually stressful for all parties involved, including the children. Courts are often not in the best position to make decisions about family matters, and they are extremely busy, making it difficult to get a prompt order to address and/or resolve your issues. Mediation takes the stress out of the court process. It gives parties a chance to talk to each other about what they believe would be the best resolution to their disputes. Through mediation, the parties also get to think through how their agreement will affect both their family’s present and future needs in a manner that is acceptable to everyone involved. In most cases, Mediation truly does reduce the stress and uncertainty associated with addressing the issues associated with a divorce in Court..
In mediation, the parties meet in a private, confidential setting to work out a solution to the various issues that are in dispute with the help of a neutral third person, the mediator. A mediator does not decide who is right or wrong, nor does the mediator represent either party. Parties may bring their attorneys if they are represented, but they are not required to do so.
The fee for each mediation session is two hundred ninety dollars ($290.00) per hour, payable at the end of each session. Time is charged to the nearest quarter of an hour. Appointments not cancelled at least 48 hours in advance will be billed for two hours.
There will be a fee of $290.00 per hour for work done outside of mediation sessions by the attorney, and $105.00 per hour for work done outside the mediation session by the paralegal, provided the clients are aware of the need for such work and consent to it. This pertains to the drawing up of the Memorandum of Understanding, Parenting Plans, any summation of agreements reached along the way during the mediation process, drafting and review of documents and correspondence to attorneys, et al. when mediation has been completed and any fax communications or telephone calls in excess of five minutes.
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What is Mediation and how does it work? Mediation is Creative Problem Solving with a non-confrontational approach.
What is mediated resolution? A mediated resolution or mediated agreement is a settlement of the disputed issues reached between the parties with the assistance of a mediator and at times, with the advice of the couples’ attorney, if any.Typically, the judge will approve the resolution and will enter it as an order of the court. The Judge may, however, disapprove the resolution. If this happens, or if the parties do not reach a resolution, the case is heard by the court.
Can I say what I want during Mediation? Yes. Mediation is confidential and designed to enable parties to negotiate a settlement of their differences. What is said in the mediation session is not admissible as evidence in a trial, nor can the mediator be called on or subpoened to testify in Court about what was said during a mediation session.
How does mediation differ from arbitration? Mediation differs from arbitration in that the mediator does not make a decision but helps the parties communicate and may make recommendations for the couples’ consideration. The mediator works with the couple to find common ground to serve as a basis for the resolution of their differences.
How does mediation differ from counseling? Counseling seeks to salvage the relationship between the parties. Mediation works toward a mutually acceptable resolution of the problems resulting from the break-down of the relationship. In domestic cases or family cases, this means that the thrust of mediation is not to preserve the marriage but to assume the inevitability of divorce and to help the parties resolve the disputes that exist between them so that they may reach an agreement to be filed with the Court. The goal is to try to resolve such matters as custody, parental rights, alimony, and property division, etc., in a mutually acceptable way.
How does mediation compare with a trial? The special advantage of mediation is its flexibility and confidentiality. The mediator is not bound by rules of evidence or Court rules. The mediator can meet with parties individually or together, with or without any attorney present. It is not public like a trial or Court proceeding. The parties can have as many sessions as they need or want in order to reach a final resolution of their issues. The agreement they reach is their own, and is not made by a judge who may only see them for a two hour hearing before issuing an order that will affect their life and the life of the family for a long time.