• Annmarie Baranik

Guidelines to Prepare for Your Mediation



This is a guideline to prepare for Mediation Services in Los Angeles, California. While court hearings are public, mediation remains strictly confidential so it is really a benefit to settling your family matters in mediation. A mediator may charge a fee comparable to that of an attorney but the mediation process generally takes much less time than moving a case through standard legal channels. Doing it through the legal system can take months or years to resolve. Mediation usually achieves a resolution in a matter of hours and avoids the years of lawyer fees.

The history of mediation goes back to Ancient Greece, where village elders used to mediate local disputes between villagers. Then it was prevalent in Roman law, which was the basis of civil law and eventually common law. Now mediation is a form of professional service and used in Los Angeles and California by many. It is also known as Alternative dispute resolution (ADR). This is a collective term for the ways that parties can settle disputes, with the help of a third party. However, ADR is also increasingly being adopted as a tool to help settle disputes alongside the court system itself or as a substitute. In Los Angeles there is an ADR department that works with the Police department and the City Attorney’s Office.


Preparation

To prepare for Mediation Services in Los Angeles you should pick a mediator that has family law experience. Preparatory steps for mediation can vary according to the willingness of the parties to participate. In some court-connected mediation programs, courts require disputants to prepare for mediation by making a statement or summary of the subject of the dispute and then bringing the summary to the mediation. In other cases, determining the matter's hand can become part of the mediation itself. Hopefully the mediator can ensure that all participants are ready to discuss the dispute in a reasonably objective fashion. Then provide reasonable estimates of loss and/or damage, identify other participants and make sure no interpreters are needed. Make sure the venue fosters the discussion, addresses any special needs, protects privacy and allows ample discussion time, you don’t want to run out of time. Ensure you have supporting information such as pictures, documents, corporate records, pay-stubs, rent-rolls, receipts, medical reports, bank-statements, etc, available.

Make sure that both of the parties sign a contract that addresses procedural decisions, including confidentiality, mediator payment, communication technique, before the mediation. Keep an open mind and keep calm. If you are unsure and feel uneasy about an issue, take a note and come back to it, don’t cave into pressure. Have an idea of what you can live without and what you cannot. Maybe only certain issues can be addressed and prepare yourself that you might have to use the court for a select few of the issues if things cannot be mediated.


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