Getting the Most of Mediation

  1. Mediation is a mandatory requirement for everyone going through a divorce or modification of parenting time, child support, or any motion pending before the Court.

  1. Be realistic - not every case can be fully resolved in mediation. Use your mediation to agree to what you can agree on as this will free up time for the Court to hear more pressing issues.

  2. Don’t posture - the mediator cannot be called to testify in Court and will not be reporting to anyone in your case or the court. So you don’t need to worry what s/he or thinks or feels about each party. That said, mediators in family law cases sometimes have experience and will tell you whether s/he thinks, if there is any chance of you getting what you want in front of the particular judge you have. As with all things, best to be courteous and kind, and do not worry about the mediator’s personal reactions just take what s/he says about your case into consideration realizing that the mediation and information exchanged there is totally confidential and will not be reported to the Court (unless there are serious welfare/safety concerns).

  3. Summarize main issues or goals for the mediator briefly and ahead of time - many couples can only afford to do the 2 -hour mandatory mediation. Rather than using the first 45 minutes to brief the mediator on what the case is about, see if you can email him or her ahead of time or submit a short summary of pending issues so that you can hit the ground running.

  4. Mediators cannot settle anything without your consent. Mediators are not supposed to force an agreement and if you feel pressured into doing so slow down and think about long-term repercussions of doing so.

  5. Get the agreement in writing by the mediator to file it with the Court. In doing so, check and double check what is written down as your mediated agreement. If you’re doing mediation alone think about the language you want included ahead of time. As an attorney, I am biased, but if you have a divorce or family law attorney or plan to retain one, go into mediation with your attorney. Once your mediated agreement is approved by the court, It is final

  6. Pick a mediator both sides trust. If you’re not sure or don’t know any mediators the Office of Dispute Resolution will help you find someone who is approved by the court in your particular judicial district.