Frequently Asked Questions
DON'T FIGHT THE PROBLEM, DECIDE IT
Q: WHAT IS MEDIATION?
A: Mediation is a voluntary and confidential settlement process whereby a neutral third-party, called a mediator, acts to facilitate a resolution to the dispute, which is called a Mediated Settlement Agreement.
Q: WHAT IS THE MEDIATORS ROLE?
A: The mediator’s role is that of a neutral, impartial, third-party who has no stake in the outcome of the dispute. The mediator acts to facilitate communication between the parties by identifying issues, brainstorming for options and allowing the parties to reach a mutual voluntary agreement.
Q: AFTER YOU HAVE AN AGREEMENT, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
A: The mediator, the parties or the parties’ attorneys will draft the agreement. The Mediated Agreement or Settlement Agreement essentially becomes a binding contract between the parties.
Q: WHEN IS THE TIME TO CONTACT A MEDIATIOR?
A: Contact a mediator before the conflict rises to the level of filing legal action in the court system or before the parties are unwilling to communicate. In divorce, many people think they must first hire an attorney to file their divorce proceeding. Not so. Contact a mediator first. A lawyer normally requires a retainer fee of about $2,500.00 or more, in order to begin any work on your case. Lawyers are prohibited from representing both parties. If both parties hire an attorney, the fees may represent $5,000.00 or more This is just the beginning of the money that the parties will spend just to get the process started.
At IMA, we will speak with the parties and explain the mediation process and that it is a voluntary process. The parties, with the mediator’s assistance, will find that they can resolve their own Settlement Agreement. The mediator helps the parties prepare the Mediated Settlement Agreement and the Florida Supreme Court forms so the parties may file their settlement in court without attorneys. The parties may have all the paperwork reviewed for advice by separate attorneys before signing. The parties that settle by mediation will “Save Time, Money & Stress.”
Q: WHAT ARE OTHER BENEFITS OF MEDIATION?
A: 1. Mediation is a confidential process. This means that the statements and communications made during mediation sessions cannot be used in any forum or administrative process unless required or permitted by law. Confidentiality allows the parties to be candid with one another and permits disclosure and honesty.
A mediator is not permitted to discuss the details and/or its information to anyone, including the Judge.
- Mediation offers the parties the opportunity to create or craft a mutually acceptable settlement agreement, as opposed to a stranger called a Judge, or a group of strangers; called a jury, to decide your future. They will never know as much as you do about your own situation.
- Parties show a high level of satisfaction with mediated settlements, which has also provided for a reduction of future legal actions and a better compliance to the mediated settlement agreements. Again, this is a reduction of future costs to clients.
- Mediation normally can be scheduled within days of the initial telephone consultation. Mediation fees and costs are a fraction of attorney fees and court costs and the process is more informal, relaxed and less adversarial as compared to litigation and trial.
5. The current success-rate of mediation is: 95 percent of all issues are successfully settled in mediation. It’s a win-win!
Q: IS MEDIATION EXPENSIVE?
A: NO! When you consider all the costs associated with a lawsuit mediation is a bargain. The parties are free of all the costs associated with a trial, and as a bonus- you get certainty.
Remember, trials are unpredictable. No one can guess what a jury (or even a judge) may decide. Mediators’ fees are almost always split between the parties; you’ll know the fee your mediator will charge prior to the mediation.