What I activity beneath is some thoughts and account of questions that may be accessible to ask at your antecedent appointment with your mediator. A chargeless antecedent appointment is an befalling to get to apperceive your abeyant advocate and accomplish abiding that you are authoritative the adapted decision. This being is activity to advice adviser you in authoritative some of the best important decisions of you life. Due activity is not aloof important, it is critical.
1. First, hopefully you will accept bent afore the aboriginal affair if the antecedent appointment is free. I covered this in a antecedent blog post. (see https://www.amherstmediators.com/2017/10/free-initial-consultation.html). In short, some mediators allegation for the antecedent affair and some don’t. I do not allegation for an antecedent session. I see it as an befalling for the audience to accomplish abiding they feel adequate with me as the advocate and for me to accomplish abiding that the case is adapted for mediation.
2. There are a cardinal of questions which are important to ask but which will accordingly abatement into the “it depends” category. While it is not aural the ambit of this commodity to acknowledgment the questions airish below, amuse accredit to antecedent blog accessories which altercate the questions in substance.
a. How continued will it take? This catechism has two parts. Aboriginal is, how continued will the arbitration itself booty and added is how continued will the annulment activity take?
b. Accompanying to the aboriginal catechism is how abundant will it cost? How continued the activity lasts and how abundant it costs are the two best accepted questions. (For a absolute altercation of these questions- see https://www.amherstmediators.com/2017/02/more-frequently-asked-questions-that.html.
3. Do you accommodated at approved intervals, (say for instance every two weeks) or is the scheduling based on the alone needs and schedules of the clients? Mediators accept altered approaches to this issue. Some will accommodated at assigned intervals and some will leave it to the audience to actuate the pace. There are pros and cons to anniversary access but you should anticipate about your bearings and what would assignment best for you.
4. Does the advocate booty a accommodation or do audience pay as they go? This is a absolute important catechism that may accept an appulse on whether you accept a accurate mediator. I acquisition that abounding audience that I accord with are disturbing financially. Abounding audience arise into arbitration already in debt and now accepting two households is accession added burden. I accept audience for whom the clip of the arbitration (i.e.- how generally we meet) depends on whether they accept the money to pay for the session. One of the advantages of arbitration over activity is that it is about consistently cheaper. If audience accept to arise up with a $2,500.00 or $5,000.00 accommodation at the alpha of the mediation, they artlessly may not accept the adeptness to arise up with that abundant up front. I, for instance, ask audience to pay at the end of every affair but they pay as they go. (I ask for a baby accommodation of $300.00 which is acclimated for drafting and time spent alfresco of the absolute mediation). I acquisition that accepting audience pay as they go makes it affordable for audience and keeps them in ascendancy of the cost.
5. Will the advocate abstract the ultimate agreement? If the parties ability an agreement, will the advocate abstract it? This may assume like a catechism with an accessible acknowledgment but in fact, not all mediators will abstract a annulment acceding and not all mediators can abstract a annulment agreement. If the advocate is not an attorney, again the advocate cannot abstract a annulment acceding as it could be apparent as the crooked convenance of law. Non-lawyer mediators generally abstract agreements alleged a “Memorandum of Understanding”. There are additionally advocate mediators who accept to advice audience ability an acceding but accept to not abstract the agreement. This agency the audience again allegation to appoint their own attorneys (or accept their accepted lawyers) abstract the agreement.
6. Will the advocate abstract the cloister papers? Back I aboriginal started mediating in 1994, I larboard my antecedent training with the consequence that it was not adapted to abstract cloister affidavit for clients. As I started mediating more, I bound encountered the accepted bearings across the parties had accomplished an acceding but now apparent that they bare to either appoint a advocate or abstract the cloister affidavit on their own. While advancing the cloister affidavit is not abundantly complicated, for audience in the bosom of the all-overs of the divorce, it was aloof one added thing. Although I accord audience the best of either my drafting the cloister affidavit or their drafting the paperwork and extenuative a little money, about 100% of the time, audience accept me abstract the paperwork.
7. Will the advocate go to cloister with the parties? I do not go to cloister with my audience but see it as my job to accomplish abiding that back they go to court, they are able and aggregate goes smoothly. That includes accepting a final affair across I airing through the activity they can apprehend in cloister and airing through all the cloister papers, acceding and banking statements. I accommodate couples with a abundant letter acknowledgment what to apprehend back they arise in court. I accept best mediators do not go to cloister with their audience but it is a catechism that is account asking.
8. Will the advocate acquaint the parties what is a fair agreement? Accession way to ask this catechism is “What is the role of the mediator?” This is a analytical catechism that goes to the affection of the access that the advocate will take. There are some mediators who see themselves as added charge and some mediators accede themselves facilitative. A charge advocate will accord you his or her assessment on what is fair or what a cloister ability do. A advocate who is a facilitative advocate will advice the parties ability an agreement, altercate the issues, analyze options but will not acquaint the parties what he or she thinks the parties should do. I absorb a fair bulk of time discussing this with clients. I am a facilitative mediator. I will not acquaint audience what I anticipate is fair because ultimately my ambition is for them to ability an acceding based on what they anticipate is fair- not what I anticipate is fair. My apperception of fair is based on my apple angle and biases. My ambition is to accomplish abiding they accept all the advice they allegation to accomplish an abreast decision.
9. The aftereffect to the aloft catechism is will the advocate acquaint the parties if she thinks the acceding is not fair? This is a circuitous question. In accession to my ambition of authoritative abiding they accept all the advice they allegation to accomplish an abreast decision, I appetite to accomplish abiding that back they go to court, things will go calmly and the adjudicator will accept their agreement. If I anticipate they are accordant to commodity which may beforehand to a botheration with the adjudicator acknowledging the agreement, I will altercate it with the clients. How did they access at the decision? Do they accept it? Do they accept it is fair? I don’t see it as my job to change their minds but I do see it as my job to accomplish abiding they are not beneath some confounding of the law or facts and I appetite to accomplish abiding that their account is sound.
10. Other than cloister papers, will the parties allegation annihilation abroad that would crave drafting or attorneys and how abundant will that cost? The acknowledgment to this depends on the alone situation. There may allegation to be accomplishments drafted, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders drafted and there will be a bulk for these. Acquisition how in beforehand how the advocate will handle this? Will the advocate abstract the QDRO or Deed if those are necessary?
11. How able-bodied does the advocate apperceive the accurate cloister that your annulment will be filed in? This could be acutely accessible and important. I accept had situations across timing for filing the annulment was analytical because a affair was affective out of state. I was able to alarm the adapted being at the cloister and access a date in abbreviate adjustment and the audience were able to activity their annulment afore one of the parties moved. Altered courts accept altered processes. It is accessible if the advocate knows those alone idiosyncrasies so that the audience are able back they arise afore the court.
12. Are there any downsides to application mediation? There are consistently pros and cons to every accommodation you make. Allocution to your advocate about what he or she thinks are the pros and cons of the arbitration process.
13. Should I accept my own lawyer? I consistently animate audience to allege to their own lawyer. This is important to allocution to the advocate about. Some mediators will not booty the arbitration if audience do not accept lawyers. Allocution with your advocate about the role/or non-role of attorneys in the process.
14. Does the advocate accommodated with audience individually? This is accession across that mediators access absolute differently. Allocution to your advocate about how they access alone affairs and anticipate about what is important for you on this front. See https://www.amherstmediators.com/2016/07/neutrality-and-transparency.html.
Questions you may be tempted to ask but which I don’t recommend:
1. What is your success rate?
2. Do you accumulate clue of what allotment of cases settle?
3. What do you anticipate is fair?
The acumen I don’t acclaim the aloft questions is a accomplished commodity in itself. Maybe a bigger catechism for the advocate would be, “How do you ascertain success?” It is absolutely because I do not accept there is aloof one acknowledgment to the catechism that I don’t like the catechism of what is my success rate, and why I do not accumulate a clue almanac or batting boilerplate of cases settled.
There are some accessible questions which may or may not be important to you and which apparently administer to any situations across you are hiring someone, like:
1. How abounding years accept you been mediating?
2. What allotment of your convenance is mediation?
3. What allotment of your convenance is ancestors law?
4. Are you complex on a local, accompaniment or civic akin with any arbitration organizations?
5. Alfresco of your clandestine practice, in what added means are you complex in mediation? Are you on any statewide committees? Do you advise or alternation mediators? Accept you appear accessories on ancestors arbitration topics?
I acquisition that audience rarely ask me these questions. It may be that in this age of the internet, best of the answers to those questions could be begin on the web or the mediator’s website. If the advocate does not accept a website it may be advantageous to ask some of these questions to get an abstraction of the accomplishments and across of ability of the mediator. In accepted though, I acquisition that added than the basal questions discussed at the alpha of this article, best audience are activity to use the antecedent affair to get a feel and a gut faculty for the mediator.
The questions which you should be allurement yourself are:
1. Do I feel adequate with this mediator?
2. Do I feel like this advocate has integrity?
3. Do I feel like this advocate will be fair and counterbalanced and advance candor in the process?
4. Based on what I accept heard, do I accept any apropos about the arbitration activity in general?
Ultimately, both parties to the annulment activity allegation to be adequate with the mediator. Sometimes one is adequate and the added is not. You should feel adequate that the advocate is skilled, knowledgeable, competent, accomplished and has the attitude that works for you. While it may be appetizing to abject the accommodation on whether you feel like you can access the advocate to booty your ancillary or like you added or accept in you more, the absolute analysis should be, do you feel this advocate is knowledgeable, experienced, skilled, able to advance neutrality, professionalism and does he or she accommodate a safe amplitude to altercate sometimes difficult issues?
Oran Kaufman has been a advocate back 1994 and runs Amherst Arbitration Services in Amherst, MA across he concentrates his convenance in the across of annulment and ancestors mediation. He is additionally co-owner of ConflictWorks which provides battle resolution training for organizations and businesses. He is a above admiral of the Massachusetts Council on Ancestors Arbitration and is and avant-garde practitioner with the Association of Battle Resolution and the Academy of Professional Ancestors Mediators and a certified advocate with MCFM. He has lectured abundantly and accounting abundant accessories on arbitration accompanying topics.
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