Bay Area Family Law Mediator - (415) 326-4148 -
San Mateo and San Francisco Bay Area clients looking for divorce mediation services often come to me at the initial stages of divorce wondering what mediation looks like and what are the practical steps for mediation. Clients who are unfamiliar with the mediation process often have many questions about the process, the role of the mediator and what they can expect.
Mediation is an alternative form of dispute resolution and seeks resolve disputes without going to court. In Marin and San Francisco Bay Area, Mediation is popular because it allows clients to save money, stay in control, and save time. The mediation process is entirely voluntary, and any party can withdraw from this mediation at any time, for any reason.
Who is a Mediator?
A divorce mediator is generally a lawyer hired by all of the parties to the dispute and therefore does not represent any individual party. This means that a mediator cannot give legal advice to the mediating parties, recommend a certain course of action, or advocate on behalf of any one of the parties. However, in my practice, I explain and discuss legal concepts and statutory or case law with parties where appropriate to enable the parties to make informed choices.
What happens in mediation is confidential. All parties are required to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to beginning the mediation. This means that nothing that is said, done or prepared for the purpose of mediation can ever be used against any party in court or anywhere else. One important exception is that any Marital Settlement Agreement which is prepared as a result of the mediation is not confidential because it may need to be enforced with the Court.
In divorce mediation services, the spouses make the decisions about their divorce. There is no judge or umpire. Typically, there is one mediator who is trained to facilitate communication between disputing parties and to guide the parties toward solutions. The mediator's role is to allow communication between the parties in a productive and cooperative environment.
Attorneys in Mediation
Depending on the type of case, attorneys may or may not be present in the mediation. There is no requirement that attorneys be present at mediation, regardless of whether attorneys have been retained or not. Attorneys may be present, may be available by telephone or may be available for later consultation with individual clients.
At the conclusion of the mediation, the mediator may prepare a written memorandum or agreement in accordance with the following:
a) In a divorce mediation, the mediator may prepare and file the legal forms required for the parties to obtain a final judgment for dissolution of marriage, including a Marital Settlement Agreement.
b) Otherwise, at the Parties' request, the mediator may prepare a Memorandum of Understanding, which is not intended to be a legally binding document.
A mediated dispute puts the clients in control of their own solutions and provides significant time and financial savings so that you can concentrate on what matters most – your health and your family.