What is an Attorney Represented Mediation?
The mediator’s role is neutral and not a substitute for independent legal advice. The mediator does not and can not represent either party. The mediator’s focus is on helping the parties reach their own agreement. Each party is urged to seek independent legal counsel throughout the mediation process. While the decisions reached in mediation are made by the parties, it is important that they should be informed decisions. To assist in this process attorneys may attend the mediation. Further, the parties shall at all times be permitted to privately communicate with their counsel. Upon completion of the mediation, the mediator will submit the memorandum of agreement to the parties’ attorneys. If necessary, the attorneys will draft a settlement agreement from the terms of the memorandum for filing with the Court.
The mediation process is designed to assist separating couples (as well as families) in conflict, to reach an agreement between themselves, privately, confidentially and informally. It allows the parties to maintain control of their decisions. It employs the skills of a neutral and impartial third party, the mediator, who assists the individuals to make their own decisions by providing necessary information, clarifying issues, helping them explore alternative solutions, and suggesting possible compromises. The mediator has no power to render a decision or to force the parties to accept a settlement. Because the voluntary settlement that the parties reach is designed by the parties themselves, it is more likely to be carried out without the need for external enforcement or further litigation.
Issues mediated may include custody, visitation and child support; alimony or spousal support; division of assets; and the tax impacts of various alternative decisions.