What Happens in Mediation?

At mediation, you will meet with the mediator, who is a trained neutral party to assist you and the other party in trying to resolve your case. The mediator does not decide your case or make any recommendations to the judge. The mediator is there to help you and the other party talk about the issues that brought you to court. You and the other party make the decisions in mediation about how to settle your case.

At the start of mediation, the mediator will explain how mediation works and will answer any questions you might have. You may sit in the same room with the mediator and the other party, or you may choose to mediate in a separate room from the other party if there's a good reason not to be in the same room together. If either party has been ordered not to have contact with the other person (for example, due to a protection order or bail conditions), be sure to tell the mediator.

The mediator will ask each of you to describe what happened and how you want to resolve your case. The mediator will help you try to think of solutions that might work for both of you.

The mediator might meet with each party alone (with your lawyers, if you have them) so you can talk more comfortably and freely share your ideas.

Mediation is an information process. You can take a break at any time or talk to your lawyer, or a support person, privately at any time.

If you reach an agreement, the mediator will write up the terms of the settlement for you and the other party to sign. Later, in some types of cases, you will present the agreement to the judge, who will review it. If the judge approves your agreement, it becomes a court order.

If you do not reach agreement, the mediator will complete a form to tell the court that your case needs a trial. The judge will hold a trial or make a plan for your case and tell you when the date for a trial is scheduled.