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Questions to Ask Prior to Mediation

Alternative dispute resolution, including mediation, is becoming more widely utilized across the United States in this day and age. Mediation particularly is now being widely used in divorce, child custody, and other family law matters.

If you are going to be involved in mediation, you need to properly prepare yourself for the process. This includes being advised of the questions that you need ask a mediator prior to mediation.

Experience of the Mediator

A key question you want to present to a mediator involves that individual's experience in mediation. In this regard, you will want to determine a mediator's training and certification. Keep in mind that in this day and age there is a great deal of specialization when it comes to mediation. Therefore, you need to confirm that a mediator in fact has appropriate experience in the specific area of the law in which you will be involved in mediation.

Mediation Success Rate

A fair question to present to a mediator is about his or her success rate. In other words, you need to inquire of a mediator the percentage of mediations that come to a successful conclusion. You need glean at least some basic information about a mediator's overall track record for bringing people involved in a mediation to the point at which they enter into a final mediation agreement.

Mediation Fees

You definitely must make certain you understand the costs and fees associated with mediation before the process starts. You also need to understand how and when fees need to be paid.

There can be some fairly significant difference in the manner in which mediation fees are handled from one case to another. For example, some courts have mandatory mediation programs in certain family law cases involving children. In some instances, the court itself pays for some or all of the costs associated with mediation or even has a qualified mediator on its staff. In other situations, the parties to a mediation are responsible for paying the entirety of the fee.

Your Lawyer and Mediation

If you are represented by legal counsel, and if you are involved in a divorce or other type of family law matter, that is the wise course, you need to ask a mediator about your attorney's involvement in the mediation process. Barring some sort of special situation, a mediator has sessions with the parties to a case in the absence of their attorneys. At some juncture, there may be some sort of session that involves parties and legal counsel. Your legal counsel will have the opportunity to review any agreement produced as a result of a mediation before you sign off on the document. You need to make certain that you fully understand how and when your legal counsel will be involved in the mediation process.

Mediation can prove to be a valuable and useful process to aid in resolving issues in your case. With that in mind, you have to be certain that you fully understand that process and the role the mediator plays before it commences.