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Mediation is a type of settlement conference which the opposing parties and their attorneys attend in an attempt to settle most, if not all, of the disputed issues in the case. The conference is conducted by a certified family law mediator, who is disinterested and neutral. The cost of the mediator is typically split between the parties. The mediator is not a judge and does not pass judgment on the case nor make any decisions. The mediator’s job is to facilitate settlement through negotiations and by offering solutions.  Although some mediation conferences are conducted face to face, most mediators prefer to keep the parties separate and then utilize shuttle diplomacy by going back and forth between the separate caucuses. Your family law attorney typically accompanies you to your mediation conference. If a settlement is reached at mediation, the attorneys and mediator typically try to draft a formal written agreement for the parties to sign before they leave the mediation conference. Although mediation can be expensive due to the cost of two lawyers and the mediator, it is money well spent as it often results in a settlement.  Everything said in the mediation, including the negotiations, is confidential and cannot be used in court.  The only thing the mediator reports to the court is whether or not the case was settled.

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