In order to participate effectively in the mediation process, parents must agree to follow some basic ground rules for the mediation. A sample mediation agreement is provided below so you will know what to expect. This agreement will be read aloud at the beginning of mediation and you will have a chance to ask questions about it before signing. It is a good idea to always ask your attorney before signing a legal document.
Because I constantly update my documents in order to provide the best services, the following is for use as an example only.
sample Mediation agreement
The parties understand and agree as follows:
1. Process. Mediation is a cooperative process through which an equitable resolution is sought and both the parties' needs are addressed. Each mediation session will be conducted in private. No persons other than the mediator and the parties will be present except by mutual agreement. The mediator may communicate with either party privately, in person, by phone, or by email if in the mediator's sole judgment such communication will facilitate resolution.
2. Participation. Participation in mediation is voluntary beyond the requirements imposed by the court. Any party to the mediation may withdraw at any time. Participation must be in good faith, which includes the requirement that the parties must negotiate with the intent of achieving a durable resolution that is workable for everyone involved.
3. Decisions. Mediation leaves decisions to the parties. The mediator will facilitate discussion and help generate options but will not make decisions for the parties. Kate Hall is an attorney, but she is not your attorney and cannot become your attorney when she has acted as your mediator. The parties are encouraged to seek independent legal counsel to advise them during the process and to review any proposed mediation agreement.
5. Confidentiality. All written and oral communications made in the course of mediation (including communication made prior to the execution of this Agreement) are confidential, except as provided for below. No party will call the mediator to testify concerning the mediation, any statements or admissions made during the course of mediation, or any recollection of the mediator, nor will a party seek production of any written documents prepared or produced during the course of mediation.
Notwithstanding the preceding paragraph,
a. The parties agree that the mediator may discuss the mediation and any information disclosed by a party to mediation with that person’s attorney. The mediator will not discuss any information provided by a party to mediation with an opposing attorney.
b. The mediator will disclose otherwise confidential information where required by law (e.g., where the mediator suspects child or elder abuse or a credible threat of imminent bodily harm).
c. The mediator may disclose non-identifying information for the purpose of mediation research or educational presentations; and
d. This agreement to mediate and any written agreement made and executed by the parties arising out of the mediation may be used in any related legal proceeding, unless the parties have agreed to the contrary in writing. The parties agree that the mediator will also provide the parties attorneys with documents provided to the parties, including drafts of agreements and written summaries of proposals.
e. The parties may meet with the mediator separately throughout the course of the mediation. In rare instances, the mediator may keep information disclosed by a party during a separate session confidential if a party specifically requests it and the mediator agrees, but the mediator cannot keep confidential any information that is likely to change the behavior of the other party to the mediation.
5. Agreement. Any agreement reached in mediation is not fully enforceable until reduced to writing, all parties indicate their assent to the writing, and the agreement is reviewed and approved by a court.
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