Mediation is a process in which the parties work with a third party, mediator, to assist the parties in resolving issues related to their marital dissolution. A Mediator is a mutually chosen third party with expertise in facilitating discussions between the parties to reach solutions of the outstanding issues. Mediators do not decide issues, but enable the parties to resolve their issues face to face in a manner consistent with the best interests of the family. Mediators may also work with the parties and their respective attorneys. The mediation process is not binding on the parties. So long as the parties agree, the discussions in mediation are confidential and are not to be used at a later trial if the case is not resolved in mediation. Mediation may be a less costly and more expeditious alternative to resolve your case.
Mediation directly with the parties entails the parties having periodic meetings with the Mediator to identify the issues to be resolved and then to address each issue specifically and in the context of the entire case resolution. Parties are advised to each have mediation counsel (often referred to as “reviewing counsel”) to confer with during the process, but are not required to do so. Once an agreement is reached the Mediator prepares the written document containing the terms of the agreement. The written document must be carefully reviewed by the parties and with their respective reviewing counsel.
In mediation there must be full financial disclosure by each party which is provided in an informal manner. Ultimately, however, each party must sign a financial affidavit under oath affirming the truth of their financial disclosure. The financial disclosure and affidavit are relied upon by the parties when assessing the financial circumstances in order to arrive at a fair and equitable settlement. When the agreement is presented to the Court at the time of the dissolution of marriage the Court must find that it is fair and equitable under the circumstances of the parties.
The attorneys at Rubin & Eldrich, P.C. are trained mediators and frequently serve as “reviewing counsel.”