The Options

Where parties have already each hired attorneys and are concerned with the continued expense, protracted time delays, accelerating emotional conflicts, etc, they also, can benefit from mediation or another form of mediation, referred to as Settlement Facilitation.

Where parties are (or perceive they are) unable to sit in the same room with one another to discuss their issues, and each are represented by an attorney, a Settlement Facilitator, who is an attorney, can be brought in to assist the parties in reaching an agreement. This type of mediation usually occurs all in one day, often over a ten hour period. Settlement Facilitation can be done either by agreement or by an Order of the Court where the case is pending. In this format, the Mediator, or Settlement Facilitator, shuttles back and forth between the parties and their attorneys, taking offers of settlement into each room. The Settlement Facilitator often expresses his or her opinion of the positions taken by each party and their attorney, and can recommend or suggest ways to resolve the conflict.

Because of my 32 years experience as a family law specialist, I am particularly qualified to conduct such types of Settlement Conferences and have done so often with success.

Where parties have already hired attorneys and believe they can still sit together in a room and try to work out agreements with the assistance of a mediator, there are several options to consider. Many times attorneys are very willing to have their client meet with the other party without the need for their presence. In such situations, the attorneys are willing to stand by to answer any questions their client may have and to give their approval for any agreement the client wishes to enter into. Sometimes the client wants to make a non-binding agreement, subject to the approval of the attorney. Other times, with the verbal approval of the attorney, the final agreement can be written up and made non-binding at the conclusion of the mediation session.