Our Address

PO Box 2616
San Marcos, CA 92079



Frequently Asked Questions

Mediation is an alternative, conflict resolution process that helps people reach mutually satisfying solutions compared to very costly, time consuming and highly stressful litigation/lawsuits. Mediation is voluntary, low-key, collaborative and completely confidential. In many cases, successful settlement agreements/outcomes are reached in just one session, with some more complex cases taking 2-3 sessions, rather than many months or even years with litigation/lawsuits. Mediation is probably the most prominent and most used alternative dispute resolution (ADR) method in the USA and internationally today, involving a myriad of usually civil disputes/conflicts. ADR’s are used as much less expensive, more effective and streamline alternative to having a judge or other authority resolve a dispute/conflict by a forced and final decision of the case.

Just about any civil matter can be mediated in California. Typically, only civil cases can be mediated, but in some rare criminal cases, certain nonviolent criminal matters, such as harassment, may allow mediation. Mediation can also be ordered by courts in California. Some quick, most common examples of what can be mediated are: divorce, child custody/visitation rights, property settlements, landlord/tenant disputes, business disputes, contracts, lease agreements, neighbor disputes, land use, small claims cases, law suits, and any more.

There is no legal outcome can be guaranteed by anyone, but odds show it very much does work in most cases. It has been reported that up to 70% of disputants who choose mediation reach a successful, mutually satisfied outcome/resolution, saving disputants many thousands of dollars in legal expenses, time and needless stress.

We currently service all of Southern California for in-person mediation sessions, and we service all of California via Zoom video conferencing. Upon request, we will travel anywhere in California to conduct in-person mediation sessions, but clients may be required to cover mediator’s travel expenses in these cases.

Mediation sessions are usually conducted in a small conference room or office, with the mediator guiding and directing the process from beginning to end. The mediator is a neutral, third party and cannot and will not take sides. The mediator is not an attorney and will not and cannot provide any legal advice. Unlike cumbersome litigation and court proceedings, mediations are, by design, a low-key, open, more personal environment, but with enough structure and formality to maintain an orderly, professional and cooperative setting. Unlike in litigation and court proceedings, in mediation, the focus is to find a mutually agreeable solution between the disputing parties, not on procedures, regulations and mandates.

There are many advantages to reaching an agreement through mediation. The following are some of the leading advantages:

  • Because mediation can be used early on in a dispute, an agreement can be reached much more quickly vs through litigation/the courts, saving you a lot of time, money and needless and unwanted stress.
  • You are in full control of the process and all parties are directly involved in negotiating your own solution.
  • No settlement can be imposed upon you, unlike what happens in litigation and arbitration where the settlement decisions are made for you and are final.
  • Mediation is confidential and conducted in private.
  • The mediator may be able to explore alternative solutions that may not have been considered by the parties or are not possible or available through the courts or arbitration.
  • It is usually more likely to reestablish/restore a positive relationship between the parties when a dispute is resolved through mediation.

There is no legal outcome can be guaranteed by anyone, but odds show it very much does work in most cases. It has been reported that up to 70% of disputants who choose mediation reach a successful, mutually satisfied outcome/resolution, saving disputants many thousands of dollars in legal expenses, time and needless stress.

Mediated cases should result in a fair compromise because the disputing parties are in control of the process and they are more able to freely discuss potential problems. Moreover, neither party is bound in mediation unless all parties agree to a mediation settlement agreement, which would be signed by all parties.

Yes. Mediation and arbitration are quite different. By the very nature of mediation, a mediator does not doesn’t have any authority (nor is allowed) to make any decisions on behalf of any party. The mediator’s primary role is to guide and direct the mediation process between all parties as a neutral, third party to assist them in arriving at a mutually acceptable resolution themselves. In arbitration, on the other hand, the arbitrator’s role is to act more like a judge and has full authority to make final decisions over both parties without their consent. Consequently, since the stakes are higher in arbitration, it typically follows a much more structured, court-like process with formal rules, the calling and testimony of witnesses, the presentation of evidence, formal arguments, etc., and finally a decision by the arbitrator. Arbitration is more common between large businesses and consumers where, as part of buying or using a product, consumers sign agreements/waivers saying they will arbitrate disputes rather than go to court. Some states/courts allow this, while others find this fundamentally unfair because arbitration rules are often set up to favor businesses.

Both during and after the mediation, you may have concerns about the process and the outcome. It is highly recommended that you consult a lawyer before you sign any settlement agreement to be sure that all of your concerns have been addressed to your satisfaction and that you fully understand the terms of the settlement. Keep in mind that signing any settlement agreement may be enforceable and binding under California State Law.

If you don’t reach an agreement during the first mediation session, don’t give up. It is reported that about 98% of all civil cases settle before trial, so it is highly likely that your case won’t go to trial as well. Sometimes, the process opens up communication and it becomes more likely to settle quickly and fairly following the mediation. In other situations, one or more mediation sessions prove helpful. If your mediation fails to initially resolve your case, the case will continue through the process, but you and/or your attorney should continue to address the potential for resolution or settlement, ideally with continued meditation sessions.

When an agreement is reached in mediation, the mediator, if requested by all parties, will prepare a formal mediation settlement agreement, which will then be signed all parties, including the mediator, which may be enforceable and binding under California State Law. Accordingly, all parties are advised by the mediator to have their respective attorneys review any final mediated settlement agreement before they sign it.

Not likely, but possibly. Mediation is a voluntary and private “self-solving” process and the mediation process itself is nonbinding. However, any signed mediation settlement agreement resulting from mediation may be binding under California State Law, and thereby could be subject to a court’s review or actions later on. Accordingly, it is recommended that all disputing parties consult an attorney on this question before you decide to mediate.

No. The entire mediation process is completely voluntary and private and is conducted outside the jurisdiction of the court system, including court rules, procedures, orders or judgments. However, this answer may not apply to court ordered mediations.

No. In private (non-court ordered) mediations, the parties and the concerned mediator are in full control over timeframes, etc., not any court or judge.

Mediation, is typically charged on an hourly rate, like most other professional services. However, mediation will typically save you considerably in money, time and from needless, unwanted stress compared to these same costs if litigating. In most cases, the parties split the fees equally in civil mediation or sometimes the parties agree that one party or the other will pay the mediation fees. In some cases where the mediation is court ordered, the courts pay the mediation fees.

No. A non-attorney mediator cannot, by law, provide any disputing parties any legal advice nor make any suggestions on how to settle any dispute or case at hand, nor is that a function or purpose of most mediation processes by their very design. The mediator’s role is, as a neutral, third party, to guide and direct the disputing parties in a mediation assisting the parties in ideally reaching a settlement that the parties mutually arrive at between themselves. At the request of the disputing parties, the mediator, as a part of his/her authorized mediator services, can prepare a mediation settlement agreement resulting from mediation. However, the contents of any settlement are completely those of the disputing parties; the mediator is simply acting as a “transcriber” on behalf of the settling parties. Accordingly, it is advisable that all mediation parties consult an attorney prior to signing a mediation settlement agreement to ensure their settlement agreement is fully understood and acceptable by all parties involved.

Mediation does not require a lawyer. In fact, one of the chief advantages of mediation is the lack of expensive lawyers in this voluntary, self-control process. However, you can have an attorney present during the entire process on your behalf to offer you advice throughout the mediation session. Also, depending on the nature of the case, a lawyer should generally be consulted to discuss any potential legal consequences of any potential mediated settlement before signing a such agreement, which may be enforceable and binding under California State Law.

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Choose Mediation California for a smoother path to resolution, and let us guide you toward a future of harmony and agreement. Contact us today to request your FREE consultation to embark on your journey toward fast, effective and affordable conflict resolution.

Our Address

PO Box 2616
San Marcos, CA 92079