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Mediation FAQ's

 
       
 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is what I say in mediation confidential?
What happens if we can't agree on everything in mediation?
Will my lawyer look at my parenting plan before I go to court?
Can children or relatives be part of the mediation?
How long does mediation take?
Will the mediator interview my child?
Does the other party also need to go to orientation?
What if the other party doesn't come to mediation?
What if the other party does not come to Court?
Can I bring my boyfriend / girlfriend to mediation or to Court?
How long is the mediation?
How many sessions will we attend?
What if the other party does not return my child from a visit?
Do we have to return to Court in order to change our custody schedule?
When can I get a copy of the mediator's report?
What if I disagree with the mediator's recommendation?

  • Is what I say in mediation confidential?

    • In some counties what you say is totally confidential. The other party can't use it in court in any way.
    • In other counties, mediators make "recommendations" to the judge when the parents don't reach an agreement in mediation. What you say in mediation can be reported to the judge and to the other parent and his or her attorney - but it's confidential as far as anyone else goes.
    • If a mediator suspects child abuse, he or she is required by law to report this to child protective services.


  • What happens if we can't agree on everything in mediation?

    What happens after mediation depends on the court:
    • There is usually a court hearing or settlement conference with the judge to resolve issues.
      • The judge may make decisions on a parenting plan.
      • The judge may order an evaluation by a mental health professional.
      • In some courts, the judge may ask the mediator to make a recommendation.

    Ask your mediator how the process works. The Family Law Facilitator may also be able to answer your questions. Contact the Court for referral.

  • Will my lawyer look at my parenting plan before I go to court?

    Yes. Your lawyer should go over this agreement (also called a "custody and visitation agreement") before you go see the judge in court.


  • Can children or relatives be part of the mediation?

    It depends on the situation. Tell your mediator if you think there's a reason for your children or a person close to you to be in mediation.

    Remember: If you've been the victim of domestic violence, you may bring a support person to the mediation with you.


  • How long does mediation take?

    For many people, 1 or 2 sessions is enough.

  • Will the mediator interview my child?
     
    In some cases, the mediator may wish to interview the children.  The mediator will arrange this with you, usually after the first meeting with the parents.


  • Does the other party also need to go to orientation?

    Yes, the Court expects both parents to attend orientation.

     
  • What if the other party doesn't come to mediation?

    The Court is advised when a parent does not participate.

  • What if the other party does not come to Court?

    The judge will either make an order for your family or set another court date.

  •  Can I bring my boyfriend / girlfriend to mediation or to Court?

    Only parties that are named as parties or legally joined to the action may participate in mediation.  You must file papers to become legally joined to the action. Anyone may attend and observe the court hearing.


  • How long is the mediation?

    Times can vary depending on the complexity of the case, but plan to spend at least one hour.

  •  How many sessions will we attend?

    Most cases have one mediation before the first hearing.  The Court may refer the matter for additional mediation when necessary.

  • What if the other party does not return my child from a visit?

    This is very serious and may involve filing criminal charges.  Notify local law enforcement.

  • Do we have to come back to Court in order to change our custody schedule?

    If you and the other parent agree to change the parenting plan, you are not required to return to Court. It is best to put your new plan into a written, dated and signed document.


  • When can I get a copy of the mediator's report?

    Your mediator will make every effort to provide you a copy of the report prior to your hearing. When there is little time before the hearing, however, you may receive your report in court.

  • What if I disagree with the mediator's recommendation?

    Let the Judge know the reasons why you do not agree. Judges are not required to follow the mediator's recommendation. Information presented in court can influence the Judge's final decision.


   
 
 
   
     

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