During the session, the mediator will meet with each side individually. A common approach will follow this pattern:
Relationship Building Phase:
The mediator will listen to your “side” of the case, your concerns, your issues and make every effort to understand your priorities.
The mediator will often ask questions but more to understand who you are and identify your goals.
Exchange of Information Phase:
In this stage, the mediator will make sure that each side has a clear understanding of the issues being brought to the table by the other side, and ensure that any differences in positions, values of assets or liabilities, etc. are known so that they can be resolved.
At this point, the mediator will provide you his independent view (or evaluation) of your case and the positions you are taking. Most of our mediators have extensive personal experience in taking cases to trial before the courts in our area, know the judges and have a clear understanding of the law that the judges will apply to your case. They will provide you their evaluation to assist you, not to intimidate or force a solution upon you. In this regard, see the biographies of each of our attorneys elsewhere in this website.
Agreement Negotiation Phase:
At some point in the process, the mediator will expect each side to prepare an “offer” of settlement of the issues. This will help the mediator focus on what the real issues are that remain.
The mediator will work with each side evaluating their offer and providing input on the issues. The mediator will also discuss the potential costs and results at trial.
If agreement can be reached, the mediator will (before the mediation is concluded) prepare a “binding” settlement or CR 2(A) agreement to be signed by all parties and their attorneys.