Foreclosure Diversion Program
The Foreclosure Diversion Program (FDP) in the Maine courts gives lenders and homeowners in foreclosure a chance to look at other options to work out their case. In mediation, both parties, with the help of a neutral mediator, talk about whether it is possible to avoid a foreclosure. Some options might be to change the terms of the loan or to sell the home to pay the debt.
To have mediation, a homeowner must live in the home, the property must have no more than four (4) units, and the homeowner in foreclosure must ask for mediation in writing. If that happens, the case enters the FDP.
Homeowners come to court as a group for an Informational Session, where a judge explains the court process and a housing counselor or legal services attorney explains more about working with lenders to try to settle the case. After that, on the same day, all cases go to mediation one-by-one.
At mediation, the homeowner(s) and any lawyers hired by the homeowner(s) meet with the lender and the lender's lawyer. A mediator helps parties talk about the case and possible options. The mediator does not take sides or make decisions. The mediator writes a report about the mediation to the court. Sometimes, more mediation is planned for a later date.
How Do I...?
- How Do I ask for mediation?
You can ask for mediation by filling out the one-page Answer form that came with the foreclosure Complaint and giving it (or mailing it) to the court clerk. You can also write on a piece of paper asking for mediation and give or mail that to the court clerk. You can also ask for mediation by filing an Answer.
- How Do I prepare for mediation?
If you live in the home, think about your goals. Do you want to stay in the home? Homeowners should come to mediation with some idea of how much money they have coming in each month. It is often helpful to call the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection's foreclosure hotline at 1-888-664-2569. The Bureau can talk about the situation and help you find a housing counselor, or possibly a lawyer.
Lenders can best prepare for mediation by knowing the status of the loan, having all documentation of the loan in order, and by bringing along any extra copies of forms required for review of the loan to mediation. Lenders should also know what the loan is eligible to be reviewed for, and they should have obtained a reasonable fair market value of the property.
- How does mediation help me?
You have a chance to talk with the other side in an informal setting with the help of a mediator. The mediator does not take sides or make decisions. The mediator is an expert at helping people talk about their options and ideas that can help settle the case. New ideas might come up at mediation that you did not know about before meeting. You and the other party in the case make the decisions. You get better communication with the other side, which makes it easier to work out your case. More than half of the foreclosure cases mediated in the FDP from 2010 through 2017 were dismissed.
- How Do I contact the Foreclosure Diversion Program staff?
If you want to contact the Foreclosure Diversion Program, please call or email Laura Pearlman, the Foreclosure Diversion Program Manager, or Alex Beach, the FDP Administrative Assistant, at (207) 822-0706 or by email FDMP@courts.maine.gov.
- How Do I contact a Foreclosure Mediator?
If you ask for FDP mediation, the court clerk will schedule your Informational Session and first mediation. Parties do not contact mediators directly between mediation sessions. However, all Foreclosure Diversion Program mediators are independent contractors to the Judicial Branch. Their names appear here by consent.
Operation of the Foreclosure Diversion Program is governed by:
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