Mediation – FAQ

Why choose Parties Only mediation instead of traditional mediation?

In Parties Only Mediation the couple meets only with the mediator, not lawyers, during negotiations, but they may retain lawyers to counsel them outside of negotiations. In Traditional Mediation the spouses each choose lawyers to advise them before and during mediation sessions. Couples confident of their ability to reach a settlement without the participation of lawyers during negotiations may prefer Parties Only Mediation.

Parties Only Mediation gives divorcing couples the opportunity and resources to address difficult financial, property and child-related issues in a healthy, productive way while restructuring family relationships. When difficult issues arise, neutral financial and mental health professionals may participate in the process to help keep the mediation positive and productive-focused on acceptable outcomes rather than “winning” or “losing.”

Is mediation legal and binding?

Mediation agreements are legal and binding as long as they are properly drafted and signed by the parties.

How long does divorce mediation take?

The length of mediation varies from case to case. The more prepared, honest, respectful and cooperative the parties are with each other, the less time the mediation will take. If there are substantial or complex issues involved then it should be anticipated that the mediation will take longer.

Will the mediator hear evidence and make a ruling like a judge?

Mediators are not judges and they do not make rulings. The mediator has no authority to make either party do anything.

What is the cost of mediation?

The mediator charges a fee and the fee arrangement will depend on the type of mediation the parties use. The mediator usually charges a flat fee if the mediation is scheduled for a full day or half day. If the parties meet with the mediator in shorter joint sessions, then the mediator typically charges an hourly fee. If each party is also represented by an attorney then attorney’s fees will apply for time spent at the mediation and advising the parties.

Is mediation confidential?

All communication in mediation is confidential. The purpose of confidentiality in mediation is to allow the parties to freely discuss negotiation possibilities with the mediator. The rules prohibit either party from calling the mediator as a witness at trial or using any of the negotiation dialogue as evidence at the trial. As a consequence, neither party needs to be concerned about whether they are harming their case should the mediation fail to result in a settlement.