Minnesota Mediation Services – What’s Mediation?
Minnesota mediation services are often used in family law and divorce cases. Mediation refers to a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in which the parties attempt to settle their dispute with the assistance of a neutral 3rd party, called a mediator. Mediation gives the parties an opportunity to reach a settlement, outside of a trial. If the parties reach an agreement during mediation, the settlement can be used in a family law or divorce proceeding. In Minnesota, often courts will require the parties (except when domestic abuse is involved) try at least one form of ADR (alternative dispute resolution), such as, mediation.
Some other features of mediation include:
- Mediation is a confidential process.
- The mediator does not have any authority to render a decision. The mediator is not a judge.
- The mediator is neutral. The mediator is not there to pick sides.
- The mediator is there to help the parties reach an agreement that satisfies both parties.
- Mediation is not a substitute for a divorce proceeding through the court. You cannot avoid using the court to get a divorce in Minnesota. However, mediation may help you avoid going to trial.
- If full settlement is reached through mediation, that agreement can be put in writing and submitted to the court. In that case, the full agreement can be incorporated into the divorce decree and a trial is not needed.
When Would Someone Use Mediation Services in Minnesota?
The following are times when two parties may turn to mediation services:
- Mediation during the divorce process
- Mediation during custody disputes
- Mediation of post-divorce disputes
- Mediation of post-custody order disputes
- Mediation of post-parenting time order disputes
- Mediation costs are typically split 50/50 between the parties in Minnesota.
- However, the parties may agree to split mediation costs however they like.
- The mediator remains neutral in all matters related to the mediation, regardless of how the costs are split.
How to Find Mediation Services in Minnesota
One of the benefits of working with a family law attorney or divorce lawyer is that s/he can help you find a mediator and mediation services. There are several professionals that are qualified to provide mediation services in Minnesota. However, with so many providers to choose from, one can easily become overwhelmed when trying to select the right mediator. Your family law attorney or divorce lawyer can provide recommendations and help you find a mediator with experience and expertise to match your specific situation. After all, your family law attorney or divorce lawyer has worked with several mediators and so will be able to tell you what it’s like to work with the mediator and the extent of his/her skills.
If you don’t have a divorce attorney, doing a google search for mediators near you, reading their websites/blogs, asking for recommendations and referrals, and knowing what you’re looking for in a mediator can all help you find a mediator that’s right for you. To help get you started, here’s the roster list for all certified Rule 114 neutrals in Minnesota. Not only does the database let you search by family law specialty (such as, divorce, custody, parenting time, etc…) but also by location.