Tips on How to Best Prepare for Mediation
Before you attend a mediation, there are a few things you can do to help prepare yourself and to help make the mediation more beneficial to you.
1. Get legal advice
Because a mediator cannot give any legal advice to any parties, if you are not currently represented by an attorney but you have legal questions about your case (including what your case may be worth or what to accept as a “good” settlement), you should contact an attorney before the mediation, so you may make an informed decision about settling your case. If you cannot afford one, Legal Aid or The Florida Bar may have a program to assist you.
2. Get organized
Go over all of the information that you have and organize it. It may be helpful to list events in the order in which they occurred. Gather any documents about your issue and put them in a folder to bring with you to the mediation. If you have an attorney, talk to your attorney about your case and mediation. Your attorney may be able to provide you with even more information on what to do during the mediation
3. Come prepared:
Be on time for mediation (in person or online). Be prepared to talk to the other party in the dispute. Even if you have had problems talking to the other party on your own, the mediator is there to help with communication. If the mediation is in person, be aware of the security regulations in the building where your mediation is to take place. If your mediation is virtual, consider whether you will be using a computer, ipad or mobile phone to log on to mediate, make sure you have the proper link to the online meeting, along with any logon credentials needed, ensure that all technical requirements are met, understood, and have previously been tested (perhaps request a ‘trial’ time to test connection, and that audio and video are working properly), and whichever physical location you are choosing to be at during mediation, make sure you have needed privacy and a strong Internet connection.
4. Understand the dispute:
Get the issues straight in your head. If it helps, write the issues down. Think about which issues are the most important to you as well as which issues are least important. In addition, think about what may be most and least important to the other person or party.
5. Set goals:
Think about what you really need to resolve the case or dispute. Set realistic goals to guide you in your decision making, but be flexible because you may get new information at the mediation that could change your mind.
6. Get to mediation on time:
It is important that are on time for your mediation. There are things you should consider in order to be on time – one item is parking if the mediation is in person. At many buildings, it is difficult to park. Find out in advance about what parking is available and the cost. You may have to pay fees prior to appearing at the mediation or in court. Arrive in enough time to pay your fees. If the mediation is virtual, connect and test audio/video 10-15 min before mediation meeting starts.
7. Arrange for childcare:
If you have children who must be cared for, you should arrange for a babysitter. Often courts and other mediation meeting places do not have anyone to care for children and children are generally not allowed in a mediation.