Tag Archives: Dispute resolution

How to Interact with Your Mediator

30 Jan

Have you decided to utilize a mediator to navigate you and the opposing party through your family law matter? Are you ready to come to an agreement but not sure what to expect and how to interact with your mediator? The helpful tips below can assist you in your upcoming experiences in mediation.

What will be the main focus of mediation?

  • The number one goal is to determine what is best for all parties, and when children are involved, the resolution of custody and support matters will focus first and foremost on the best interests of the children.
  • That the parties mediate in good faith with no secret agendas.
  • Each party remembers and adheres to the idea that mediation is not the place to make the other party look bad.
  • If one party becomes hostile or accusatory about unrelated issues, the other party should not buy into these issues. Instead, the non-accusing party should tell the other party, in front of the mediator, that he or she is there to talk about fair settlement of the marital estate and/or co-parenting only.

What should I expect from the mediator?

  • To stay neutral, reduce tension, and help both parties communicate.
  • Not to decide who is “right and wrong,” or force either of party to agree to something that makes him or her uncomfortable.
  • To explore options and creative solutions to settling the issues of contention.
  • Not to contact either party outside of the mediation in order to avoid being influenced.
  • To make each party aware that he or she cannot represent either party, give legal advice or provide counseling. This applies even if the mediator is a lawyer or therapist.

What are some other helpful tips for choosing and interacting with a mediator?

  • Before choosing a mediator, interview several about their training, experience, style, and fees.
  • Always ask if the mediator has experience in Family Law and your specific issues.
  • Be sure to choose someone with the training, experience and cultural sensitivity to help resolve your specific issues.
  • Know that choosing male and female co-mediators can help ensure gender balance and prevent perceived unfairness.

In the end, remember that negotiating agreements isn’t always straightforward. It may seem at times that the mediator is working on issues that should be covered at a different point in the process. Always be aware that you may need to gather additional information at various points. But the mediator should always help you to stay on track and consider new and unique options. A good mediator encourages each party express opinions, positions, and items of importance, and will help the parties listen to each other in ways that will make a resolution more likely.