FAQs / General Information
WHEN SHOULD MEDIATION HAPPEN?
Family Law Mediation can take place at any time. If the parties agree, they are able to schedule and attend mediation before filing any type of court action. This is typically referred to as pre-suit mediation. Once a family law case is filed, the court will typically require that the parties attend mediation before the case can proceed.
WHERE DOES MEDIATION TAKE PLACE?
The mediation conference can take place at the mediator’s office, at the courthouse or at an attorney’s office. However, these days the vast majority of mediations take place over Zoom.
CONFIDENTIALITY & SETTLEMENT
While court hearings are public, what goes on at mediation remains strictly confidential. No one else is legally allowed to know what the parties discussed at mediation except for the parties and the mediator. The mediator cannot testify in court as to what the parties discussed at mediation. There are few exceptions to confidentiality, including child abuse, elder abuse or a party’s threat to commit a crime.
WHO ATTENDS MEDIATION?
Once a family law mediation conference has been scheduled, only the parties should attend the mediation. However, sometimes the parties wish to have someone else present for support during the mediation conference. Though we do not recommend this, parties may do so in the event that both parties agree. This should be discussed and agreed upon by the parties, and the mediator should be given notice of who will attend, well in advance of the mediation conference. Children are not permitted to attend mediation conferences.
Given that the majority of mediations take place over Zoom, we recommend that you find a quiet location to attend the Zoom where you will be free from disruptions. No one else should be in the room during the mediation unless it has been agreed upon by all parties in advance and no one else should be able to hear what is taking place in the mediation conference. Children should not be permitted in the room and should not be able to hear what is taking place in the mediation conference. The parties should not be engaging in conversations with children or non-parties during the mediation. We strongly advise against the parties not attend the mediation from the same location and that they not communicate directly with each other through email or text during the mediation.
WHAT IS THE COST OF MEDIATION?
Though mediators do charge an hourly fee, mediating your case generally takes much less time than moving a case through the court system. While your case is in the hands of a lawyer or the court, it may take months or years to resolve. Mediation usually achieves a resolution in a matter of a few days or a few hours, saving you thousands of dollars in legal fees.
DO I HAVE TO HAVE AN ATTORNEY PRESENT DURING THE MEDIATION?
Though we do advise that all parties are represented by legal counsel, it is not required that they do so. Each party is free to choose to attend mediation pro se, which means without being represented by an attorney, or to have legal counsel present.