Can You Go to Mediation without Going to Court

Some courts require mediation earlier, sometimes before an injunction hearing can take place. This may be your only court-ordered round of mediation, or you may need to mediate again before the trial, depending on your district. Some counties use what is called „recommending mediation“ or „recommending counselling.“ In these counties, mediators (also called reference counselors) inform the court of what happens during the sessions. The mediator reports to the parties, their lawyers and the court before the next hearing in the case. As with voluntary mediation (where parents mediate in the hope of avoiding disputes), the mediator is a neutral party who helps parents find a solution to their disagreements so they can file a settlement with the court. If you choose mediation even if the other person is bullying you, you should have a lawyer. Mediation should take place with you in different rooms. Although closely related, court-ordered custody mediation and private mediation have important differences. Private mediation is like a more complete version of the court-ordered mediation you pay for. Court-ordered mediation should begin with an introduction by the mediator explaining the procedure and the role of the mediator.

Among other things, it is the mediator who must declare that it is the parties who make the decisions, not the mediator. The mediator`s presentation is usually followed by an opportunity for you and the other party to describe your concern. If your lawyer is with you during mediation, these opening remarks can be made by you, your lawyer or both of you. After these first procedures, the way mediation is conducted is different. The mediator usually meets with both parties to discuss issues that will help you resolve your disputes. The mediator may also meet privately with each party. This separate meeting is called a caucus. In general, the mediator is prohibited from sharing the conversation being discussed unless you give him or her permission to repeat what you say to caucus. Finally, mediation will conclude in one of three ways: 1) the parties reach an agreement on some or all of the issues – all parties (and their lawyers, if any) must sign the agreement; 2) the mediator declares an impasse (because you, the other party, or both are not willing to discuss the solution further); or (3) the mediator, with the consent of the parties, continues the mediation session by adjourning it for the day.

If the mediator declares an impasse on some or all of the issues, you and the other party must return to court for the judge or jury (if any) to decide your case. On the day of your mediation, you should expect to be welcomed and made comfortable in the facility, which may be a law firm. Sometimes the parties` respective lawyers are also part of the mediation. The mediator will then explain the process and boundaries you or the court have set, and then help you identify problems and possible solutions to those problems. You should expect to have the opportunity to explain how you think the case should be resolved and why, and to listen respectfully when the other party does the same. The mediator can meet with everyone at the same time or „meet“ with each party individually. Certainly, if there are injunctions or problems of violence, the mediator must provide adequate and safe accommodation to the victim. Ultimately, the goal is to solve each of the problems and find a solution that everyone can live with (even if it`s not what you expected or preferred).

Custody mediation is limited to the subjects of custody and visits to children. Peripheral issues such as family allowances or divorce cannot be covered. Yes, if the mediation is successfully completed, you and the other party sign an agreement, which is then submitted to the court. In court-ordered mediation, the parties or their lawyers usually choose a mediator together. If they fail to reach an agreement, or if neither party objects, the court may choose instead. It is best to contact a specially trained family law mediator. The recommendation for mediation is considered confidential because the resulting report can only be consulted by the parties, their lawyers and persons associated with the court. However, parents should be aware that what they say in recommending mediation does not stay in the room and can be read by their judge and influences their mediator`s recommendation.

While many mediators have experience in counselling, mediation is not counselling. A mediator meets with both parents and helps them agree on the plan that best suits their children. The mediator`s job is as follows: in counties that use non-recommended mediation, the details of what happens during a session cannot be shared with the court. Mediation can be great for resolving civil and divorce disputes, but it doesn`t work in all cases. Domestic violence, trauma, issues of domination and control, and other power imbalances can turn a conflict resolution tool into a traumatic experience. For this reason, any mediation should begin with individual domestic violence screening between each party and the mediator. This selection gives you the opportunity to explain what you need to feel safe and supported, and the mediator to know if you will be able to express your opinions, needs and desires in mediation. .

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