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How to Properly Prepare for Mediation

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If you’ve opted for mediation, it is most likely because other forms of dispute resolution haven’t worked for you. This isn’t to say that you’ve tried them all (after all, most people try mediation as an alternative to costly litigation), but it does mean that trying to come to a resolution between the two parties alone hasn’t proven successful.

However, mediation only works when the parties are able to work together. And, in order for them to effectively do so, it’s important for them follow normal protocols to ensure they are mediating in a fair and efficient manner.

If you are about to enter mediation for the first time, here are some things that can help you prepare to have a fruitful mediation session and come to the best resolutions for the parties.

Gather Information

Without proper supporting information, parties often do not have adequate information upon which to make rational assessments and decisions. This is why it is essential to prepare for mediation by submitting Discovery Requests, Requests for the Production of Documents to a non-party, depositions and more.

Set Goals

With mediation, it isn’t quite enough to walk into the session saying “We want this resolved.” While that’s a great first step, it does little to prepare you for the things you really want or need. Prepare yourself for the mediation by discussing with your lawyer your main goals and the best strategies to achieve them. For example, if you are mediating for custody of your children, think about the things you might be willing to sacrifice to make your full custody option seem like an ideal solution.

Regardless, it is important to keep an open mind throughout the process, as the other party may offer a settlement that meets your priorities in spite of not being exactly what you’d expected.

Research Possible Mediators

Mediators aren’t all the same, so it’s important to make sure to find one that has the right education and experience to be able to help you through the nuances of your case. Try to find someone who has expertise in the field in which you are hoping to come to a resolution, and who has strong referrals.

Allow Enough Time

Most mediation sessions can take between four and eight hours. Leaving only two hours for a full mediation risks that the outcome will be sloppy and not discussed, as thoroughly as needed to come to a settlement that will satisfy both parties. Allow enough time to properly settle the dispute.

Prepare to Settle

The goal of the mediation is typically about settling a dispute without interference from the court. Court costs can be costly, and the judicial process can cause a significant amount of mental and emotional anguish. Sometimes, particularly difficult and high stakes mediations, parties are surprised when a case does settle and they find themselves scrambling to consult with spouses, supervisors, attorneys or others. Make sure those people are available throughout the mediation in order to keep from holding up the process. It is always best practice to have an attorney attend mediation with you.

If you are considering mediation to help resolve a dispute, the team at Reese-Beisber and Associates wants to help. Contact us at 678-947-2988 to learn more about our mediation services and programs.

407 East Maple Street, Suite 204 • Cumming, GA 30040

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