Divorce Mediator in the San Francisco Bay Area
Roles in Mediation Proceedings
A key to a successful mediation is when all of the parties involved fulfill the responsibilities of their specific role. Attorney Brian McDonald, a skilled mediator, can facilitate the mediation process, helping all parties understand their roles and responsibilities.
Your Role in Mediation
During mediation, each party has a responsibility to reach an agreement and address personal issues. You must be willing to clearly state your needs, interests, and feelings; listen to the other party with an open mind; and discuss sometimes-difficult issues in a respectful and constructive manner. It is important that you keep focused and try not to lose your temper. While this may sound difficult, most parties discover that mediation provides a setting that both encourages and facilitates cooperative and open communication.
Role of the Mediator
The mediator’s role is to maintain neutrality, facilitate discussion between the participants, provide a safe environment, encourage the parties to actively participate in making decisions, and keep the focus on goals for the future (instead of blame for the past).
The parties decide which of these two models of mediation they wish to follow:
- Under facilitative mediation, the mediator endeavors to facilitate communication between the parties and help each side understand the other’s perspective, position, and interest in relation to the dispute
- Under evaluative mediation, the mediator can provide a non-binding assessment or evaluation of the dispute, which the parties are then free to accept or reject as the settlement
The mediator’s role is to assist you in reaching your own settlement. A mediator must remain neutral, cannot take sides with either party, or represent either party; mediators do not act as a judge or make decisions. Mediators do not determine what is “fair” or acceptable. Unlike a judge in a trial or an arbitrator in arbitration, the mediator is not a decision-maker and cannot impose a decision or resolution upon you. The mediator also must maintain all confidences during the proceedings. Because mediations are confidential under the California Evidence Code, a mediator can never be a witness later if the case cannot be resolved in mediation and proceeds to litigation.
Seek Experienced Representation
If you need assistance with a dispute and believe mediation might be a viable option, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney familiar with the mediation process. Brian McDonald has successfully handled more than 1000 mediations and mediation variations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. To discuss the mediation process and learn whether it might be appropriate for your dispute, contact Brian McDonald today.