Mediators are trained, impartial professionals who help disputing parties work toward a mutually acceptable resolution to their dispute. They are sometimes called upon in the workplace between employees and managers, in schools to resolve conflict among students, and even in divorce cases. They are known for being able to help disputing parties reach an agreement on difficult issues, including property division and child custody. A mediator can often help disputing parties avoid a long, drawn-out divorce trial, saving both money and time.
While some people who have law degrees also act as mediators, the two professions are very different. Lawyers are required to have extensive legal education, which enables them to interpret complex laws and factual situations. Lawyers can also provide their clients with legal advice during mediation. Mediators, on the other hand, are not required to have any legal education or experience and do not give legal advice to their clients.
During mediation, the mediator helps both parties discuss their case and disputes in a private setting. They may suggest resolutions, guide the discussion of each issue and narrow the issues that require mediation to a manageable number of issues. Mediators can also prepare written agreements based on the discussions, which can be attached to Court paperwork or used as an official settlement agreement in court.
The type of mediator you choose will depend on the nature and complexity of your dispute. For example, if your case involves complex financial issues (such as a high net worth, multiple properties or retirement accounts), you will want to choose a mediator who has experience handling these types of cases. In addition, some mediators specialize in mediations involving children. Others focus on business or civil disputes, while others divide their time evenly between all types of mediations.
Aside from experience, there are several other considerations to keep in mind when choosing a mediator. Ask potential mediators how many cases they have mediated in the past, what their rate is and what their qualifications are. You should also consider whether you prefer a full-time mediator or one who practices mediation as a sideline. Full-time mediators tend to have more experience because they are working on cases full-time and are able to stay current with the changes in state laws, guidelines and approaches to mediation.
Once you have chosen a mediator, it is important to prepare for your mediation. You should think about the issues in your case and what you hope to achieve during the session. It is generally not a good idea to have specific, firm goals for your mediation session, since the information you get during your mediation may change your goals and priorities. You should also prepare a list of questions for your mediator and have any necessary documents you will need with you. Lastly, you should make sure to arrive at your mediation on time and be ready to discuss your case. A delay can cause you to miss your scheduled appointment time, which can disrupt the mediation process and prevent you from reaching an agreement. mediators near me