In most jurisdictions in Montana the parties in family cases are ordered by the Court to mediate their case before they can proceed to a final hearing. In order to get the most out of your mediation, here are a few tips:
1. The mediator that you select is very important. There are not any hard and fast qualifications that a person needs to become a mediator. In order to pick a good mediator, ask others in your community who they have used and who they would recommend. There are almost always a few names that pop up again and again. Some mediators are lawyers and some are not. I recommend getting an attorney mediator if you both have attorneys. If both parties do not have have lawyers, a non-attorney mediator is sometimes a better fit.
2. The mediator is a neutral third party. If they seem un-neutral, that is likely a technique they are using to resolve whatever issue you are working on.
3. You DO NOT have to settle in mediation. You probably will, but there is no absolute requirement to do so.
4. Your mediation can take place with everyone in one room, or with both parties in separate rooms. If you have a preference, let the mediator know.
5. If you are a victim of abuse you do not have to mediate. Please go here for more information.
6. You can hire an attorney to represent you in your mediation under limited scope representation. This means that if you want to represent yourself in your family law case, but you do not want to go to mediation without counsel, you can find a lawyer that does limited scope representation and hire them to represent you at mediation only.
Overall mediation is a wonderful tool and generally leads to the resolution of your case without having to go to Court. If you have any more questions, feel free to call or email to set up a consultation!