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While legal representation is not required in mediation, you can have a lawyer attend the sessions with you. Your attorney can assist you during the discussions and also review any agreement that is reached before you sign it, both of which are extremely beneficial.
If you don’t have a lawyer to represent you in your mediation, Jill Rynkowski Doyle provides counsel and legal representation in mediation, divorce, and other family law matters for clients in the District of Columbia. She also provides mediation services in Maryland and Washington, D.C. To schedule a consultation or request information, please call (202) 617-4256 or use the online contact form.
Yes, mediation can be done in person or remotely, by conference calls or Zoom.
Mediation provides a forward-focused process that enables individuals to be in control of what their post-marriage life will look like. The process is more optimistic, more efficient, and more cost effective than a legal negotiation or litigation.
The mediation process usually involves an initial meeting which lasts one to two hours. The mediator reviews the process, establishes ground rules, and confirms the commitment to mediation.
Following the initial meeting, the mediator sets up four to eight sessions of one and a half to two hours each, depending on the complexity of the issues. Topics for those sessions include budget and needs, division of assets and debts, and needs of the child(ren).
Following the sessions, if an agreement is reached, a joint memorandum of understanding is drafted, which is used to draft the settlement agreement.
Mediation is private and confidential between the mediator, the individuals, and the individuals’ attorneys, if they have legal representation. The mediator seeks the parties’ assurances that they will keep the process confidential. In the event the parties do not reach an agreement, the mediator cannot provide legal representation to either party. The mediator seeks assurances from the parties that they will not call the mediator as a witness if they end up in litigation.
Mediation may not be the best option when there is a significant power imbalance in the relationship, or when one party is not able to advocate for themselves, such as situations involving significant abuse or mental illness.
The mediator does not advocate for either party or provide legal advice. Each party must be willing and able to speak up for themselves.
While the process tends to be more informal than a legal negotiation, it is not therapy. A skilled mediator will help the parties have a conversation with each other that they are not able to have themselves. By helping both sides share information, frame issues, and develop options, the mediator can help the parties move through the negotiation and come to a joint decision.
Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). It is a process in which a neutral third party helps individuals come to an agreement. Mediation can be used for a variety of matters, including divorce, prenuptial agreements, parenting plans, or another specific issue within a larger matter.
The process is voluntary and optional. The individuals are in control. There is no requirement to agree to anything, unless the parties believe it is fair.