Mediation FAQs

What is mediation?

Mediation is a way to resolve disputes in a prompt, efficient and cost effective manner.   Mediation allows participants to maintain control over their lives in a dignified and satisfying manner and to clarify issues and resolve conflicts. Mediation promotes future cooperation, not continued conflict. In mediation, participants themselves, with the mediator’s impartial assistance, resolve their own dispute, seeking fairness and the maximization of benefits. Family, business, property, employment, organizational and other disputes can be effectively mediated to a fair and constructive resolution that participants believe in and with which they will comply.  Mediation offers the opportunity for people or groups in conflict to move forward with their lives and businesses in a positive manner.

Mediation is the fastest growing alternative to litigation.  Many courts around the world require parties to participate in mediation prior to litigation because of mediation’s exceptional effectiveness.

How does mediation work?

A neutral third party (the mediator), helps the parties find solutions to conflicts that are optimal for both parties by using conflict resolution skills.  The process is confidential to encourage all parties to feel comfortable.  A successful mediation ends with a binding agreement of the parties.  Mediators can also prepare documentation for Court, where appropriate, like in family law cases.

What happens during mediation?

Generally, the participants first meet together as a group, and the mediator explains what will happen, and the ground rules.  The participants sign a confidentiality agreement.  Where appropriate, each participant gives a brief statement of the conflict.  The participants will either stay in the same room together, while options are explored, or the mediator will put the participants in different rooms.  The mediator may meet with each party separately in what is called a “caucus.”  Once the parties have reached an agreement, the parties will draft a binding settlement agreement together.

How much does mediation cost, and how long does it take?

Unfortunately, it is hard to predict with precision how long a mediation will take or how much a mediation will cost. These issues depend primarily on how agreeable the participants are.  We bill $250.00 per hour for mediation time.  When preparing Court paperwork is involved, there is a one time $50.00 administrative fee.  For family law cases, no up front fee is required, and participants can pay as they go. Mediation can take as little as one hour and as long as several days.  We will be as specific as possible in these regards once we have a better understanding of your situation.

Responsibility for mediation fees is an issue to be decided by mediation participants. Participants are encouraged to consider sharing fees to some extent so that all will benefit from expeditious and economic resolution.

What is co-mediation?

Co-mediation is mediation with two mediators.   Co-mediation is sometimes preferred where parties want both genders represented in their mediations, or where the case is complex.   When co-mediation is requested, Alona M. Gottfried and Jared C. Simmons, co-mediate upon request.  Their Firm offers co-mediation at the reduced rate of $400.00 per hour.

What are our chances for success?

The good news is that most mediations are successful.  Both parties do have to  come to the table in good faith to try to resolve the issues. The mediation process helps people reach agreements.

What if we don’t reach agreement?

In mediation, all discussions and materials, with very few exceptions, are confidential. If no mediated agreement is reached, evidence of the mediation discussions, mediation materials and any draft mediation resolutions will not be admissible in any court or other adversarial proceeding.

What disputes are appropriate for mediation?

Mediation is appropriate for most disputes, including family law disputes (divorce, paternity, non-parent rights, modifications .. . .), employment disputes, property disputes, business disputes, personal injury and malpractice disputes among other types of disputes.

When is the best time to mediate a dispute?

It makes sense in most cases to mediate as early in the dispute as possible – before animosity increases and before the parties put substantial time, money and energy into the conflict.  However, the participants can mediate at any point.  Participants can mediate with or without pending litigation.

Do I have to be in the same room as the other party?

The parties do not have to be in the same room.  However, generally, mediation at least starts with the parties and the mediator meeting together.  The parties can also then break up and meet with the mediator one and a time.  The mediator may meet with each party dozens of time during the course of the mediation process.

Can I bring an attorney?

In some mediation discussions, attorneys are present and represent the parties. In other mediation discussions, attorneys are not present, but are available as an outside resource for consultation. Participants need to decide how actively involved, if at all, they would like legal counsel to be.  Participants may also choose to use experts, such as financial experts, child specialists, appraisers and counselors.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC intends mediation to be an efficient, economical, respectful, and positive experience for its clients and welcomes questions.

Simmons & Gottfried
a Professional Limited Liability Company
8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7
Scottsdale, AZ 85260