Bring Your Attorney to Your Mediation
I do a lot of videos in here talking about stuff that happens in court and stuff that can take you to court and stuff dealing with situations where things are hotly contested. I want to kind of go in the other direction a little bit and talk about mediation.
What mediation is, essentially, you can kind of think of it like a refereed settlement conference. The goal of mediation is to try to settle your case and settle it outside of court so that, hopefully, you can save some money and everybody gets at least part of what they want. Now, that’s the key thing, you’re probably not getting everything you want in mediation, but you can get some of what you want in mediation.
One of the first things to expect is that there’s going to be some give and take. It’s going to be compromised. In preparation for that, you should have a really good idea of where you’re willing to be flexible and where you’re not. I mean, there are certain things, obviously, that you definitely don’t want to compromise on and you should know what those are upfront.
Another thing to understand is mediation is not binding on you unless you choose to make it binding on you. In other words, the mediator doesn’t get to order you to do anything. Neither does the other party. The other party can make offers. The mediator can tell you, “I think this is good,” or, “I think this is not good.”
They can tell you what they think a judge might do in that situation. Now, don’t misunderstand. That is not and should not be construed as legal advice. It’s more or less just the mediator speaking from his or her own experience when dealing with a particular judge. It’s not legal advice. They’re not allowed to give you legal advice.
This brings me to the next thing you should expect from mediation is that you will need your attorney and you should have your attorney present so that he or she can explain to you the legal consequences of whatever it is you do in mediation because the mediator is not there to give you legal advice. As I said, mediation is not binding on you unless you choose to make it so. You can say no to whatever you want.
Even if the mediator is sitting there telling you you’re being unreasonable, if you want to hold the line on that, you can. But if you do agree to something and you enter into an agreement with the other side, that will become binding on you. Understand that, going in, it’s important to bring your attorney with you because they can explain to you the legal consequences of whatever it is you might be agreeing to.
That’s mediation. Mediation is not conducted in a courtroom. It’s usually conducted in a conference room or a private office. There are mediators that do it on an hourly basis, and there are free mediation services available in Oklahoma if you can’t afford anything else through early settlement mediation.
Now, for certain types of problems, early settlement mediation is not always the most appropriate, but they are helpful and they’re a good service for settling your basic divorce or your basic child custody dispute. But if things get more complicated, you might want to get somebody who does charge by the hour but is a little more experienced in dealing with complex issues, such as if there are allegations of domestic violence or child abuse or other things of that nature.
Another thing to be aware of, judges can order you to go to mediation, although there is statutory language prohibiting that in cases where there’s domestic violence unless certain safeguards are in place.
If you are dealing with a more complicated case that really reinforces why you always want to bring a lawyer with you to mediation because they can answer questions for you and they can advise you as to what’s a good deal and what’s not, what you should or shouldn’t do, what the consequences are for what it is you might agree to. If you need a good lawyer, one place you can look is dads.law, where fathers are not disposable and, guys, we’ll help you out.