What is mediation?
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. With the assistance of a mediator, the parties fashion their own resolution to their dispute and avoid going to court. The mediator does not make any decisions for the parties. The mediator is a neutral party who merely guides the parties towards a mutually agreeable solution.
What is the purpose of mediation?
When the parties go to court and have a judge decide their case, they lose control over the outcome. By utilizing a mediator, the parties retain control over the outcome and reduce their costs. Mediation is successful in the vast majority of cases and costs far less than litigation.
How do I prepare for mediation?
All that is really required is to have an open mind and a desire to resolve the dispute. Most cases that go to mediation do get resolved because the parties have already recognized that it is better to come up with their own solution rather than have a judge impose an outcome upon them.
What issues can be mediated?
Any dispute between the parties can be mediated. Mediation is frequently used in divorces and civil cases but basically any matter where the parties are considering going to court can be resolved through mediation.
What questions do mediators ask?
Mediators ask lots of questions, primarily trying to determine what the goals of each party really are. Mediators frequently find that the parties are not as far from an outcome as they thought. Unlike judges, who must impose certain forms of verdicts, mediators can suggest solutions which are mutually beneficial. The ability to find an “outside the box” solution is one of the great advantages of mediation.
How much does divorce mediation cost in Virginia?
Mediators charge an initial fee to set up a file and then an hourly rate. That hourly rate can vary depending on a number of factors but it typically starts at $350/hour. Most participants find that they have saved thousands of dollars over the cost of going to trial.
Is mediation legally binding in Virginia?
Because the parties fashion their own agreement, the outcome of a successful mediation is a signed agreement that is enforceable like any other contract. If the parties have been directed to mediation by a court, the court will often incorporate that agreement into an order.
Do I have to meet the other party/spouse in person when mediating?
Although mediation is sometime conducted remotely, the most successful mediations usually take place in person. Although all parties are present during the mediation, the parties are typically in separate rooms during most of the process, with the mediator going back and forth between the parties.
When is mediation not recommended?
The only time that mediation is not an option is if the parties are not truly interested in finding a mutually agreeable resolution. If someone is simply interested in being malicious, it is unlikely that the mediation will be successful.
What if mediation doesn’t work?
If mediation doesn’t work, the parties can continue with their litigation. In most of these cases, however, the parties have been able to significantly narrow the scope of their dispute, so that the cost of the continued litigation is still greatly reduced. What is discussed in mediation is confidential and can’t be used against the parties in court, so the parties have nothing to lose in attempting it.