Court-Ordered vs. Private Mediation: What to Know

Court-Ordered vs. Private Mediation What to Know

The mediation for your divorce might be court-ordered, or it could be a private mediation. But what is the difference between these two mediation approaches?

Here’s a quick overview of what you should know.

When mediation is ordered versus chosen 

A court-ordered mediation is mediation that is mandatory, ordered by a judge as part of your divorce proceeding. This means if you fail to attend your mandatory mediation session, you may be held in contempt of court and face other penalties, such as fines.

With a court-ordered mediation, the court will give you a date, time and location for the mediation session. Neither spouse has control over the schedule for that mediation. Judges will reserve this type of court order for cases that involve child custody disputes, but might also use it for property and financial issues. Upon completion of the mediation, the mediator selected by the court writes up a report to submit to the judge to describe the progress of the case.

Private mediation, meanwhile, is mediation chosen by the spouses going through the divorce. In such a case, the couple will hire a mediator who charges by the hour. The mediator may be a social worker, family lawyer or psychologist trained in dispute resolution. Both spouses agree on their own to go to mediation, and work together to pick the mediator to act as their facilitator. Some mediators charge hourly fees, others charge a flat rate per session.

The issues discussed in court-ordered or private mediation might be the same, but there is likely to be a different dynamic. Couples in private mediation have already agreed to be there and are taking proactive steps to resolve their issues together. Couples with court-ordered mediation might not be as interested in participating, and it could be more difficult to resolve their issues.

For more information about court-ordered versus private mediation, contact an experienced Long Island divorce lawyer at Solutions Divorce Mediation.

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