Author - William M. Levine, Esq
Many people don’t know that there are different kinds of mediation. For family law in Massachusetts, the predominant model is one with three people in the room together: the spouses and the mediator. Sessions tend to run in 2 hour segments over a period of a couple or a few months, a 2 or 3 of weeks apart, to permit time for reflection and interim work. People who do this often do, and always should, in my opinion and in the view of Levine Dispute Resolution Center LLC (LDRC), have lawyers, with whom they work between mediation sessions. People need to understand at least the basics of the law that applies to their matter, and they benefit from the sound advice that the mediator is not allowed to give to the parties.
But the second form of mediation is one in which the parties attend mediation with their lawyers. So, five people are in “the room”: the parties, their lawyers and the mediator. This process tends to occur in longer fewer sessions: often one or two, and sometimes 4-8 hours in length. The reason that I put quotes around “the room”, is that in lawyer-attended meditation, the parties sometimes (not always) spend more time in two separate rooms than one, with the mediator “shuttling” between the two, helping to prepare and present proposals for settlement.
Each process has its place and it own set of advantages. I’ll discuss those in a later entry.