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William E. Smith
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Q & A
Q: What is Mediation?
A: Mediation is where both parties meet with a third party mediator to try and resolve matters in their case. They may be represented by counsel for this meeting, or they may be on their own. The mediator may try and offer suggestions to the parties to help resolve matters, and they will try and help facilitate a discussion between the parties about the issues in the case. The mediator may be an attorney, but they are not there to offer legal advice, so if you are unsure about how the law would treat a supposed agreement in mediation, it is best to have counsel with you.
Q: How much does Mediation cost?
A: This depends mostly upon the mediator. Most mediators charge between $120.00 and $250.00 an hour for their services and the cost is usually split between the parties. Most mediators require that 2 hours of their time be paid at minimum.
Q: What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
A: In arbitration, the arbitrator will decide matters in the case in a process known as binding arbitration. In mediation, the mediator does not have the power to make decisions in the case, and if an agreement is not reached at mediation, then the parties are in the same position they were in before they started.
Q: Do I have to settle my case in Mediation?
A: No. In mediation, you can agree to as little, or as much as possible. If you can agree on some things in mediation, all the better, but you are not required to settle all issues.
Q: Can the Mediator make decisions for us?
A: No. Only an arbitrator or judge will have the power to make decisions regarding your case. A mediator will only be able to help you by facilitating discussions, and offering suggestions, but, they cannot make any binding decisions.
Q: Do I have to mediate my case?
A: Most likely. In many Court cases today, mediation is required before the parties may proceed to a Permanent Orders hearing.
Q: Why should I mediate my case?
A: Besides the fact that it is very likely required by the Court, mediation can be a great way to solve little problems, so that you can focus only on the big ones.
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