Court-ordered mediation is a mandatory mediation session ordered by a judge during a divorce proceeding. Court ordered mediation is something all judges will order if your case gets far enough along that trial is looming. It typically occurs well into litigation after the parties have lost significant money and time. It lasts less than one hour and the parties have no choice in picking the mediator as the Court will simply schedule whoever is available without consideration of fit for the parties. At the end of court-ordered mediation, the court-selected mediator will provide a written report to the judge to explain the progress of the case. There is no follow up or continued discussion with this mediator as the parties will have the hour with them and that will be it.
Private mediation typically is done as the first step when parties decide to divorce and thus these parties have the opportunity to save time, money and emotional harm. Couples who participate in private mediation will address all aspects of their divorce and the entire process is confidential and controlled by the parties. The mediation sessions in our office last 90 minutes and are scheduled weekly so the parties have time between meetings to research, consult with advisors and do any homework assignments assigned during the meetings. The parties also choose the mediator and so they will agree on someone they each feel comfortable speaking to and believe that this person has their best interests. The mediator will also handle all the Court paperwork and drafting and filing of documentation and agreements so that you never have to go to Court and simply review and sign all the documents as opposed to creating and drafting them yourselves. Simply stated, this process is much healthier than the abruptness of Court-ordered mediation.