What, Actually, Does the Mediator Do?

 What, Actually, Does the Mediator Do By Sanford E. Balick, Esq.{3:24 minutes to read} If you ever had an opportunity to be involved in the mediation of a business dispute, you were witness to a process where the mediator prods, cajoles, pushes and sometimes extracts an agreement from the combatants, frequently in the course of a single day.

Marital mediation, and the mediator’s role in it, is a vastly different process.

Here, the mediator plays a more restrained role in a weekly process that unfolds in 1 to 2 hour sessions until an overall agreement is achieved. The mediator is not a decider of the issues (that would be the role of an arbitrator) and the mediator doesn’t try to wrestle the parties into submission. 

The mediator functions as a quiet activist in the mediation process. This process places a premium on the elements of confidentiality, disclosure, and future-oriented problem solving. This is accomplished largely through the efforts of the parties themselves, as they express their concerns, interests and goals, which then culminate in an overall agreement that is of their own making.

The mediator should not, however, be mistaken for some mute by-stander.

The mediator’s quiet activism in facilitating agreement-making plays out in a number of ways. The mediator:

  1. Acts as the overall conductor of the proceedings;

  2. Convenes the first session with a discussion of the confidentiality and information disclosure aspects of the mediation;

  3. Explains and reinforces, as necessary, vital ground rules for the conduct of the proceedings;

  4. Supports the information disclosure process;

  5. Provides legal and other information on such topics as child support, equitable (asset) distribution and maintenance (nee alimony);

  6. Promotes and confirms informal, interim agreements to facilitate continuation of the mediation and formalization of an overall agreement;

  7. Connects participants, where necessary, with providers of specialized advice from attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, parenting and mental health professionals, business and retirement plan valuation experts;

  8. Assists participants in preparing budgetary projections;

  9. Helps participants to develop alternative approaches for issues such as parenting (formerly custody and visitation), asset and maintenance allocation;

  10. Acts as a secretary to the proceedings, recording and confirming the parties’ agreements; and

  11. Prepares a Memorandum of Understanding for the participants which details their various agreements in sufficient detail to enable an attorney to prepare a Separation (Settlement) Agreement.

Finally, and unseen, mediators spend considerable time in preparing for sessions by trying to anticipate issues and having important information close at hand during actual sessions.

So what actually does the mediator do? Turns out, it’s a lot.

Sanford (Sandy) Balick, Attorney & Mediator, NY Sandy Balick signature
Sanford E. Balick, Esq.
Founder & Principal Mediator
Consensus Point Mediation, LLC.

Phone: (646) 340-3434
Email: ConsensusPointLLC@gmail.com
www.ConsensusPointmediation.com
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