Unlike legal advice, these articles will not help you to directly apply the law to your unique situation. Contact us if you wish to schedule a consult for legal advice.
The courts generally require that the parties in any family law case, either pre-decree or post-decree, attend a mediation session to try to resolve issues in their case.
Mediation is almost always required both before a Temporary Orders Hearing and again before a Permanent Orders Hearing. Mediation must occur within a certain timeframe specified by the court before the actual hearing takes place. Such matters differ based on the jurisdiction and the Case Management Order and Pre-Hearing orders in your case. The parties can agree on a mediator or the court may appoint one. The Case Management Order or Pre-Hearing Order often specifies what mediation service is to be used if the parties cannot agree on a mediator. Mediation costs are generally split between the parties equally and can vary from $60 per hour for a 2 hour minimum up to $450 for a 2-3 hour minimum. What occurs at mediation is confidential and the parties are not required to reach agreement.
Parties can attend mediation with or without their attorneys. We offer our clients a variety of options in this regard, for example even if the client does not wish to pay for the attorney to attend mediation the attorney might be available by phone for questions or might meet with the client in advance to prepare for the mediation session. In advance of the mediation our office often sends the Mediator a confidential statement outlining our client's position together with documents in support of that position. While the Mediator cannot make any decisions we have found that by providing this sort of information to
the Mediator in advance of the mediation we make much better use of everyone's time at the mediation. We believe mediation is a very important option which allows the parties to maintain control of the outcome of their own case, and as such like to assure the client receives as much support as he or she desires through this process.
Mediation is often an effective way to settle all or most of your case. If mediation results in an agreement that agreement is referred to as a Memorandum of Understanding. Once it is signed then it can be filed with the Court. Until then all of the settlement discussions are confidential and privileged.