Mediation is a confidential process in which the parties negotiate with and through a neutral facilitator with legal training. The mediation process does not impose settlement terms on the parties and is completely voluntary. Fair agreements are more easily reached with mediators who are very good at suggesting solutions that may not have occurred to litigants and their attorneys. Mediation can take place with or without the assistance of attorneys, and can take the form of either a joint settlement conference (in the same room) or “shuttle diplomacy,” where the mediator shuttles between opposing parties, who are in separate rooms.
A mediator has no power to decide things for the parties and cannot tell them what to do. In fact, the mediator cannot talk to anyone about what has been discussed in mediation. In evaluating a case, a mediator may make recommendations, and can be useful in explaining that a party’s position is unlikely to be successful in court. Most mediation clients successfully resolve some or all of the issues in their cases. If the clients decide to make their agreement binding, the mediator will write out the agreement for the parties to sign and it will be enforceable.
Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, offers mediation services with licensed attorneys from simple single-session mediations to full “turn-key service” mediation, which can involve several sessions and compilation of all pleadings, judgments and other documents necessary to start a case and complete the final judgment. We find that parties who participate in resolution of their case, instead of requiring the court to decide issues that directly impact their lives, are more satisfied with the results and less likely to return to court in the future.