Answers To Commonly Asked Questions about Mediation

Mediation is an informal process during which an impartial third party, the mediator, assists disputing parties in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement regarding their dispute. The mediation session is intended to identify pertinent issues, clarify any misunderstandings, explore solutions, and negotiate an agreement.
The mediator is not a judge and does not render a decision or impose a solution on any party. Rather, the mediator helps those involved in the dispute talk to each other, thereby allowing them to resolve the dispute themselves. The mediator manages the mediation session and remains impartial.
At the mediation session all parties present a summary of their points of view. Attorneys for the parties may be present. Typically, the mediator will then meet privately (caucus) with each party to exploremore fully the facts and issues of each side. The caucus offers participants the opportunity to vent anger or frustrations outside the presence of the opposing side. The mediator usually will continue to caucus alternatively with each party, carrying settlement proposals back and forth until an agreement is reached. The agreement is then reduced to writing, and signed by the parties.
While the time required for mediation varies, the mediation session commonly involves less than half a day.
Expenses of the mediation are shared equally by the parties unless they agree otherwise. Parties should know in advance what the mediator charges.
Parties keep control over the outcome of their own problem.
Disputes can be settled promptly. A mediation session can be scheduled as soon as both parties agree to use mediation to resolve the dispute.
Mediation promotes better relationships through cooperative problem-solving and improved communication.
Both facts and feelings are considered with the help of an impartial mediator.
In short, no you don’t have to be legally married. Mediation can be used by unmarried couples or registered domestic partners for debt and asset division. If the couple has children, Mediation can be used to establish time-sharing and child support issue as well as most other issues. All of these issues and more can be resolved OUTSIDE of the stress of the courtroom and typically for far less money.