Mediation typically begins with informal greetings followed by a joint meeting where the mediator establishes ground rules, reaffirms strict confidentiality of mediation, informs the parties that the mediator cannot be compelled to testify about the settlement negotiations, and asks the attorneys or clients to state the issues to be addressed.
The statement of issues may be the first time each party has heard the other party's perspective. Each party may or may not make an opening statement. Opening statements summarize the key issues and may take an adversarial tone. I typically suggest we avoid opening statements to keep the initial tone collaborative not combative.
The next step either takes place in the same room or in different rooms. I recommend separate rooms so the client feels free to talk through their issues and concerns.
If in separate rooms, then the mediator talks to one party, gets an offer to take to the other party, takes the offer to the other party, gets a counter offer from the other party, and the process continues until the parties reach agreement or reach deadlock.
Remember, no deal is better than a bad deal. I'm a fan of taking every case to trial because it gives you, the client, the opportunity to present your case to a neutral decision maker and removes the doubt about whether you made the deal possible.If you are in Kentucky, then I’d recommend that you call my office at 502-587-1950 or 502-509-1490 to schedule a consultation if you have an agreement, parenting schedule or court order to discuss your options.