“Med/Arb” (mediation followed by arbitration, if necessary) is a voluntary, process in which I help the parties to identify and discuss issues of mutual concern, explore various solutions and develop a settlement that is mutually acceptable to the parties. (See more on mediation above.) If the parties do not reach agreement after mediation, I then convert my service to that of an arbitrator, and I make a binding or non-binding decision after hearing arguments and considering evidence. (See more about arbitration, below.)
This process can occur with the parties alone or with the parties and their lawyers, present and participating. When counsel does not participate directly in med/arb, I strongly encourage the parties to have lawyers for consultation before I begin mediation work together and between sessions; then directly, for the arbitration phase, if that occurs. If the parties reach an agreement, I will either write a “memorandum of understanding” which is an outline of points to which the parties agree, or a formal agreement, which is the full embodiment of the parties’ settlement.
If the parties wish, I will assist they or their lawyers in finalizing their agreement. If arbitration occurs, I will write an arbitration award, and if requested, an explanation for our decision, called a “reasoned award”. I will provide med/arb services on ultimate issues, interim or “temporary orders” or stipulations and discovery disputes: all in the context of family law, probate or other matters.