Forms of Mediation 2017-12-28T01:51:59+00:00
  • Mediation for legal guidance
  • Mediation for legal guidance and negotiation assistance
  • Mediation using consulting attorneys
  • Separate Mediation or Caucusing
  • Mediation for legal guidance

Mediation for legal guidance

The benefits of working with an attorney-mediator is that clients can have their legal questions answered in a neutral manner, and also have the same person who has been working with them on the content of the agreement draft their legal documents and forms.

In this form of mediation, Unmani becomes acquainted with clients’ details in a way that best suits the clients. If clients have already come to agreements on most of the issues, she can do most of the drafting and interacting with clients by phone and email. Or if they haven’t reached an agreement and need Unmani to structure their negotiation from a legal point of view to facilitate them doing most of their negotiating on their own, outside of session, then she will generally meet with clients two to five times.

Once the clients have reached agreement, Unmani draws up the documents and Judicial Council forms to communicate the agreement to the court.

Mediation for legal guidance and negotiation assistance

Mediation is an option for people who want to work with professionals whose aim is to assist people in coming to their own agreement.

Some clients choose to be told the law in detail on every issue, while others choose to hear a short legal perspective of their agreement once they have reached it. Mediation allows people to control their own divorce process and what choose what basis will be used to make decisions. A mediator-attorney can give neutral legal information, including common alternatives when requested, and draft the documents and forms necessary to communicate the resulting agreement to the court.

In this form of mediation, Unmani generally meets with clients for one foundation session, where they create a framework for how people can best communicate in session and outside session, and clearly states all expectations she has of clients during the process. Also, each client has the opportunity to state his or her personal goals for the process, and also the values they would like to keep in mind as the process progresses. These are often helpful thoughts to return to if the process becomes challenging.

After the clients have gathered information from each other, been given the legal information they requested, and if applicable, collected data from other professionals, Unmani and the clients generally meet two to an unspecified number of sessions to negotiate a middle ground on all the issues.

Once the clients have reached agreement, the documents and Judicial Council forms are drafted to communicate the agreement to the court.

Mediation using consulting attorneys

Some clients want the positive aspects of mediation, but are concerned that they will not hear the law from the perspective of their individual best interest. It is important for these clients to have a one-on-one relationship with their own consulting attorney. Consulting attorneys can be a helpful part of the mediation team. Consulting attorneys give their clients a view of the law as it pertains to that one client. Usually both clients have their own consulting attorney to work with, though this is not mandatory.

This form of mediation has the same session structure as mediation for legal guidance and negotiation assistance, above, and the people meet with their consulting attorneys when the clients feel it is necessary.

Occasionally, if the legal advice the consulting attorneys give is drastically different and both clients are attached to their consulting attorney’s perspective, it can be challenging for the clients to feel able to negotiate. When this situation arises, Unmani offers the option to have a five-way mediation session with the two clients and their respective consulting attorneys.

Once the clients have reached agreement, the documents and Judicial Council forms are drafted to communicate the agreement to the court.

Separate Mediation or Caucusing

Not everyone feels comfortable with the idea of sitting in a room with their spouse to negotiate their divorce agreement. Some people who feel that way are not good candidates for mediation. For instance, if a couple has had an explosive or physically abusive relationship it can be impossible to mediate properly, and the protections and buffering provided by the traditional adversarial system can be a better choice. Or if the communication dynamic between the people is negative and longstanding, one neutral professional might not be able to strike a balance between the people. An example of this type of dynamic might be if one person in the marriage has always run things either through intimidation or excessive emoting and the other person has typically let them have their way.

But for other other people who lack such extremes in communication patterns, but still don’t want to sit in a room with the other person or people to negotiate an outcome, even though they still desire the benefits of mediation, mediation can be an option. In this situation, typically a caucusing mediation format is used. In the caucusing form of mediation, the mediator meets with the clients individually, acting as a neutral conduit for information between them.

While caucusing is more expensive than having a mediator work with both clients at the same time, choosing to work with one mediator who has the goal of finding a middle ground between the clients is much less expensive than a traditional adversarial system battle. And at the same time the clients retain the other benefits of mediation, in that hostility is minimized and the clients retain control of the agreement.