Frequently Asked Questions
Who Pays for Mediation?
Usually, the parties equally split the costs of mediation. Sometimes one party will advance the costs of mediation subject to reimbursement by the other party. When there is a significant income disparity, one party will sometimes agree to pay all or most of the mediation fees.
Is Mediation Mandatory?
In most Oregon courts, family law and civil matters must be mediated either through a court resource (when that is available) or privately. It is not required that you reach an agreement, only that you participate in good faith.
Can I Force the Other Party to Mediate?
When mediation is mandatory, you can seek a court order requiring the other party to participate and/or share fees. If the other party does not participate, some courts may not let the case move forward to hearing.
Can Mediation Be Done Remotely?
Since COVID-19, most mediation is conducted remotely, by Zoom. This requires access to high-speed internet and a quiet place without interruptions. Mediation can also be conducted in person, with each party having the option of staying in separate rooms. Sometimes mediation is done best in a hybrid model, initially by Zoom and later in person to address challenging issues or to confirm a global settlement.
Is Mediation Confidential?
Yes, all communications and materials exchanged in mediation are completely confidential. If an agreement is reached, you will be asked to formally approve a mediation agreement and/or a judgment to submit to the court.
How Long Does Mediation Take?
Every case is different. When the issues are clear and the parties are flexible and able to compromise, mediation can be completed in 1-2 sessions. In more challenging cases more sessions may be required.
Is Mediation Legally Binding?
Mediation is not legally binding, meaning you are not required to reach an agreement. However, if an agreement is reached, it can be made legally binding. To do this, the agreement must be put in writing, signed by the parties, and filed and approved by the court.
Do I Need an Attorney?
You do not need an attorney to participate in mediation. However, remember a mediator is a neutral party and cannot take sides. A mediator’s job is to help you reach an agreement that meets your needs and objectives.
You may seek to engage an attorney for advice on negotiations as the mediation proceeds and/or to review a final agreement. An attorney may also be helpful to prepare a final judgment that reflects a mediation agreement. In particularly challenging cases, when each party has an attorney, the attorneys may be invited to participate in the mediation, either at the outset or before the mediation concludes.