This is often people’s first question, so let’s address it first. While the cost of mediation depends on the complexity of the dispute, the willingness of the parties to negotiate, etc., what is without doubt is mediation is less costly and less stressful than litigation. The hourly cost of mediators themselves varies widely, depending on the mediator’s experience, skill, and education. If lawyers represent the parties during the mediation process, costs will be higher. Again though, mediation is much less costly than litigation.
The mediation process is actually quite simple, especially when contrasted with the litigation process. Initially, people with disputes agree to mediate, find a mediator, and schedule a mediation. Mediation usually takes place within only a few weeks of initial contact with the mediator. The mediator will usually ask for short typed summaries of the dispute and what exactly each party wants to accomplish during mediation. (If litigation has already begun, the mediator will likely ask for court documents that explain the dispute.) During mediation, each party will tell the mediator about the dispute from their point of view. The mediator will then ask the parties to identify the issues in dispute that need to be resolved. From this point, the mediator will help the parties openly negotiate until each of the issues in dispute is resolved in a way that (1) is acceptable to the parties, and (2) is mutually beneficial.
Once a mediated agreement has been reached, the mediator writes the agreement, and the parties review and sign it. When signed, the agreement becomes a contract and is enforceable in court. (If the mediated agreement is in the context of a parties seeking a divorce, the agreement can serve as the basis for a Decree of Divorce.)
Many mediations last between three to four hours. If the dispute is more complicated, then more time may be necessary. If more time is necessary, then mediation can be broken up into multiple sessions on different days, depending on the parties’ wishes and schedules.
Yes, in Utah what happens in mediation stays in mediation. Neither party can use what is said during mediation in a subsequent court proceeding. Likewise, the mediator cannot divulge what was said during mediation.
This is a common question, especially in divorce and child custody situations. The answer is, “No.” If you do not get along well with the other person, then mediation can be done by what is called “caucus” where the parties are in separate rooms and the mediator shuttles between the parties.
This is only a minor inconvenience. Mediation is often done via conference calls. The success of the mediation is not dependent on being in the same room, but is dependent on the skill of the mediator and the willingness of the parties to negotiate.
Yes. People may want a lawyer present to help ensure a fair mediated agreement is reached. In fact, in many cases it is preferable to have a lawyer present during mediation to help the parties evaluate offers being made and discuss options and risk.
Note: It is almost always a good idea to have an attorney review a mediated agreement before signing it.
Simply put, No. Oftentimes, couples seeking a divorce will go to a mediator instead of lawyers to negotiate the terms of their divorce. When conducted by a quality mediator, these lawyerless mediations reduce stress and produce good results at a price far less than divorces in which each party hires an attorney.
Honestly, there are not many situations too complicated for mediation. The parties understand the dispute, and when they have educated the mediator regarding their points of view, the mediator will be able to help them negotiate a mutually beneficial agreement.
If, on the off chance, mediation does not result in an agreement, the parties may begin or continue the litigation process. Additionally, it is often the case that even if mediation is not successful on the first attempt, parties may return to it when they realize how costly, time-consuming, and stressful the litigation process is.
If You Need a Utah Mediator or the Services of a Salt Lake City Mediation Attorney, Contact Brown Law
Brown Law can help you with all your Utah mediation needs. Whether you need a mediator in Salt Lake City or around Utah, or you want representation during your mediation, contact us online or call us at 801-685-9999 or 800-299-1016.
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