1) Pre-mediation Conference: in-take call or meeting in our Century City (Los Angeles) living room: Prior to the mediation, I shall reach out to both sides to explain the mediations process or meet with both or either party, assess the appropriateness of the case, and assist each client with video conferencing technologies so they are prepared for the mediation session. We must speak with both sides of the mediation.
2) Welcome and Introduction: At the start of the first mediation session, I will introduce both parties to the mediation process, discuss roles and responsibilities, and review the agreement to mediate. I will stress honesty, including all documents and suggest that keeping secrets will only lead to disagreement and additional conflict.
3) Statement of Every Problem: Each party will have uninterrupted time to share their side of the matter. The initiator of the complaint will speak first about the dispute and what they need to resolve for each issue. Once they finish, the other party (respondent) will have an opportunity to share their perspective of the matter(s).
4) Information Gathering: During the information gathering stage of mediation, each party along with myself will ask probing questions about the dispute to ensure that all the issues are clearly understood by all. This helps lead to a speedy resolution and less conflict.
5) Generating Options: Once all the issues are understood, I will facilitate problem solving of each identified issue. Sometimes during this stage of the process, the parties are placed into different areas of the sessions so that I can initiate confidential discussions to dive deeper into the issues and possible remedies. Again, no secrets, just open discussion.
6) Evaluate Options / Negotiate: After the parties have generated a list of possible solutions to resolve the dispute, I will help the parties evaluate the options and negotiate with each other to find a solution that meets the needs of both sides, we will talk about tax implications and family implications as needed. Should additional professionals be needed for tax or other planning I have a list of suggested people to refer to each case.
7) Agreement: When the parties are able to come to a satisfactory agreement, I shall help document the mediation agreement and as required, complete any necessary court documentation and filings.
I am passionate about mediation because it provides people with an affordable and effective method for resolving their disputes and moving forward. I have seen to many problems become unmanageable and try to circumvent misunderstandings.