In family law or other civil matters, settlement before trial is often an option. Mediation is one means of achieving settlement before a matter goes to Court. Generally, in mediation, the parties and their attorneys meet with a neutral third party mediator who has general information as to the background of the case and acts as a go-between to negotiate between the parties to reach a settlement.
If mediation is successful and the parties reach an agreement on all pending matters, the agreement may be ordered by the Court without the need for a hearing. Below, find three (3) tips for mediation that may help in the mediation process.
1. Know your mediator
Different mediators have different backgrounds and strengths. For example, some mediators work mostly with family law or personal injury cases. Some have dual degrees or certifications in specialized areas. Some mediators like to mediate with the parties in the same room, and others separate the parties. Doing some homework and requesting a mediator with qualities that make it more likely your case will settle can get you on the right path to negotiate.
2. Be ready to negotiate.
Mediation is an opportunity for both parties to negotiate and compromise. In general, neither party is going to walk into mediation, request exactly what they want, and have the other party agree. There is a certain give and take when it comes to mediation, and knowing what you are willing to compromise on versus what you are not is important. Mediations can unravel and end over a seemingly “small” matter, so knowing your limits on negotiation can help determine quickly whether a settlement agreement can be reached.
3. Get a good night’s sleep
It is advice that is given in almost any situation, but especially in mediation, getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy breakfast is important. Mediations can often go for hours, and if an agreement is close to being reached, may continue well into the evening. Sitting in a room for several hours can be tiring, but add on the emotion of the legal case at hand, and it can be overwhelming and exhausting. By eating breakfast and going in refreshed, you can prepare yourself to be ready for what the day brings.
Mediation is a helpful tool in law, and knowing the background and purpose of mediation can help you make the most of same. We hope that this blog has been helpful in providing some general tips for mediation. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. practices throughout the state of Indiana. This blog post was written by attorney, Jessica Keyes.