What is mediation? Mediation is helping two disagreeing people come to an agreement. (Mediation is very different from arbitration: appointing a judge). Mediation is helping people agree on a fair solution to a disagreement. Mediation can be non-binding (i.e. either party can change their mind later).
What if I don’t like the agreement? The mediator does not have the right to impose a decision on either person. Each person decides for him or herself whether the ideas proposed are fair or not.Each person is free to decide the mediation is not helping, and to walk away from the mediation at any time. Each person is also free to change their mind after they go home and sleep on it, or discuss it with family and professionals. In order for both people to abide by an agreement, they both have to feel the agreement is fair.
Non-binding mediation is mediation that allows either party to change their minds later. There is an agreement ahead of time that this non-binding mediation cannot be used in a court later. This idea of non-binding mediation frees both sides up to negotiate in a much freer, less stressful environment. Non-binding mediation is much more likely to get the parties to a place where they like the agreement, and much more likely to get the parties to keep liking the agreement later.
After both people agree, the mediator writes up a Memo that summarizes the agreement.
Cost: Court battles are very expensive. Mediation costs are 10% or less of what a court battle would cost. Mark Williams mediates on a sliding fee scale basis, depending on income: $75 to $165 per hour, with a minimum of two hours. (Under $50,000 family income/year is $75 per hour; over $80,000 is $160/hour.) For example, child custody mediation takes between two and 12 hours to mediate depending on how amicable or hostile the parties are to begin with.
Satisfaction Guaranteed Mediation: Mark also does mediation on a contingency basis--you only pay if you are happy with the results, in which case the mediation is $185 per hour. If you don't like the results the mediation is free. Be sure to get in writing beforehand which financial arrangement you have with Mark.