Mediation, Arbitration and Collaborative Practice are all types of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Mediation is the most utilized form of ADR in family law practice.
Mediation is a non-adversarial approach to problem resolution. The mediator is an impartial third party who guides the process by helping disputing parties make informed decisions and develop acceptable agreements. His/her role is to assist the parties in reaching their own decisions; it is not to take sides or make decisions for them. The Mediator does not replace the need for legal advice. The mediator helps people examine their situation in terms of their interests and needs. The parties share information and then propose and discuss settlement options. As mediation proceeds, specific legal questions may arise which need to be discussed with the attorneys before further mediation. Often attorneys may not attend the mediation sessions. When needed, however, arrangements can be made for the attorneys to be available for telephone consultation during the mediation session. If necessary, provided that all parties have consented, the mediator and attorneys will communicate directly. Decisions are made which allow each party to realize a positive result. After review by legal counsel, mediated agreements may be incorporated into a judgment or order through the appropriate legal procedure. The goal of Mediation is to resolve differences. Mediation also:
The mediator you choose cannot also function as your attorney. Likewise, your attorney cannot function as your mediator. In the event that you choose to have Susan Brown act as your attorney, she will be happy to provide you with the names of highly respected, competent local mediators.
For more information about Alternative Dispute Resolution, please consult the following websites: