The parties will attend mediation with their respective attorneys. The mediator is a neutral professional who works for both parties to help them resolve issues that they and their attorneys have been unable to resolve themselves. Click on the “About Us” page to view Steve Bruneman’s credentials.
The parties should arrive at the site of the mediation a few minutes prior to the starting time in order that they can relax and get somewhat comfortable in their respective rooms prior to starting. The parties should wear comfortable clothing because mediations usually last all day and sometimes into the evening or even later into the night in some cases. Men do not need to wear a suit and women should wear comfortable shoes. This event is all about working hard to resolve your case.
Each party and their attorney will occupy a room to themselves. The parties themselves do not meet during the day and many times don’t see each other at all. The attorneys sometimes meet together with the mediator to discuss issues but other than that, your attorney will remain with you in your room the entire day.
First thing in the morning, the mediator meets with each party briefly for introductions, initial position statements, and review of the latest settlement offer if any offers have been made. The mediator will then meet with the party who is working on a response to the last offer, or with the Petitioner if no offers have been made yet. The mediator will help craft offers and responses to offers if need be, and will bring creativity to the process in an effort to help the parties reach a binding settlement that each party can live with.
Lunch will be ordered and delivered around noon, but you may bring anything you want to snack on during the day or for lunch if you have special dietary needs. Coffee and water will always be available.
The mediator will go back and forth between each room several times during the day, each time presumably narrowing down the issues and moving the parties toward resolution. The mediator will also be working on the mediated settlement agreement (MSA) which is the written document that sets forth the detailed terms of settlement. This document is of utmost importance for it will contain all the basic terms of the agreement and it cannot be changed unless both parties agree to change it, and it cannot be revoked by either party. Once the agreement is signed, the case for all intent and purposes is over other than drafting the final order and other orders or documents required to facilitate the agreement.
You will be advised not to sign the MSA unless you fully understand all the terms and consequences of the agreement. There is no going back or changing your mind once the MSA is signed. Your attorney is responsible for ensuring all the issues in your case have been addressed in the MSA but it’s best if you have a checklist yourself to ensure no one has overlooked anything to be resolved.
I always suggest jotting down things that you are thinking about during the day to remember to discuss them with your attorney or the mediator.
You may always have time alone with your lawyer to discuss issues, offers, and responses. If the mediator is in your room and you want him to step out for a few minutes, all you have to do is ask. The mediator will give you as much time as you need with your attorney, and you will always have ample time to discuss issues while the mediator is in the other parties’ room working.
In most mediations, the mediator spends more time in one room than the other which is usually the result of one party having more difficulty making decisions and compromising. The mediator’s job is to help the parties keep the process moving forward and to make suggestions on how to creatively compromise to get their biggest needs met and resolved.
Once all the issues have been resolved, the mediator will spend as much time as is required for him to complete the initial draft of the MSA and then distribute it to the parties and their attorneys for review. Each side will give the mediator their suggested changes and once all the changes and corrections have been made, the parties and their attorneys will sign it and then the mediation is over.
The biggest rule in mediation is, no one leaves the mediation unless or until the mediator declares the mediation is over. The mediation concludes successfully when the MSA is signed. Alternatively, mediations can end in a recess with an agreement to reconvene another day to continue working toward settlement, or in impasse where the next step is the courtroom and a final trial to resolve the issues and end the case.
If you want to reserve a date for mediation with Steve, please click on the Mediation Calendar tab at the top of the page. You can choose any available date for either a full day or half day mediation. Once you complete the scheduling process both you and Steve will receive a confirmation email from this site. Steve’s office will then send you a follow up letter with additional information.
If you have problems reserving a date and don’t get a confirmation email from this site, please call Steve’s office and you can reserve a date over the phone.
Thank you for your mediation business!