One of the benefits of mediation is that it is less stressful than going to court. However, hiring the wrong mediator or coming to mediation unprepared can make the mediation experience seem inefficient and uncomfortable. How can you make sure you have a pleasant mediation experience? We’ve got some tips.
Look for a mediator with…
Knowledge. Unless a mediator is up to date on the law, the latest legal trends, and is familiar with the styles of local judges, they cannot offer you a realistic assessment of your position.
Availability. The best mediator in the world cannot help anyone if they have no time available to mediate.
Support staff. A mediator without support staff to check values of assets, print documents, and draft documents will wind up wasting a lot of time and money while they complete these tasks on their own.
Judicial experience. Sitting behind the bench is worlds different from arguing a case before a judge. A mediator needs to know how judges think and evaluate cases. Mediators with experience in litigation have this practical knowledge and can apply it to your mediation.
A pleasant environment. A mediator needs to be aware that the environment sets the mood for the mediation. Every part of the mediation experience should be designed to relieve stress on the participants. Parking should be abundant and easy to find. The office should be clean and comfortable. There should be enough room between the places where the participants are, so they will not see or hear each other. The mediation experience in an environment like this is significantly better than the experience in a cramped and cluttered office space.
How can I make my mediation go better?
Be prepared. Bring documents that support your positions and show values of disputed assets or debts (for example: bring your most recent pay stubs and a print-out of the debts you owe). Send your mediator a letter beforehand outlining the issues and your goals.
Be open minded. If you bring a “my way or the highway” attitude, you won’t get very far in mediation.
Be calm. No one can make you settle in mediation, and nothing can happen to you without your agreement. Take a deep breath, and ask your mediator for a cup of hot tea or coffee to relax any nerves.
Be creative. Sometimes, when the choice is between option A and option B, the best choice is option C. Don’t hesitate to think outside of the box.
We hope these words of wisdom help you as you prepare for mediation.