Divorce Mediation
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Is there a law controlling the mediation  process?

Yes.  §§ 2710 of the Ohio Revised Code, also known as the Uniform Mediation Act governs the mediation process as applied in this website.

What is mediation?

The process in which a mediator facilitates communication and negotiation between parties to assist them in reaching a voluntary agreement regarding their dispute.

My divorce/dissolution decree requires me to mediate before I can bring my case in Court.  Does this mediation law apply to my situation?

Please look at ORC §§2710.  Basically, these mediation provisions apply if a person is required by a Court to mediate a dispute.

Is what is said by someone during mediation, including the mediator him/herself allowed to be used in a hearing or trial?

A mediation communication is privileged and is not subject to discovery or admissible in evidence in a proceeding, unless waived or under other certain limited circumstances. Most of the exceptions to this privilege can be found at ORC §2710.05.

Can the mediator force a result or order a result?

A mediator has no authority to order the parties to do anything.

Why would I want to mediate instead of just going to trial and allowing the hearing officer to make the decisions?

Mediation allows the participants to retain control of the outcome. The process actually empowers the parties to make informed decisions resulting in their own creative solutions. The mediator is there to present options, direct discussion, maintain order and focus and encouragement. Also, mediation is more efficient time wise and can be less costly than litigation.

What types of matters can be mediated?

In the area of family law, such matters as:
● Divorce
● Post Decree issues
● The allocation of parental rights and responsibilities (Custody)
● Change of custody
● Visitation
● Relocation.

Who is present for the mediation?

Usually the mediator and the parents, sometimes the lawyers, and by agreement, anyone else the parties and the mediator believe will be helpful to the process.

Will I be able to consult with my lawyer before anything I agree upon becomes binding?

Yes. Throughout the mediation process the participants have the right and the opportunity to consult with whomever they choose. The terms of a mediation agreement are not ordinarily binding until such time as those terms are included in a Court order.

What happens to all the things we may have agreed upon during the mediation process if in the end we fail to reach a full agreement?

Nothing said or done in mediation, with very few exceptions, can be used by either side against the other. In fact, the mediator can not be compelled to testify about the mediation.

Who pays for the mediation?

Unless otherwise agreed upon by the parties, each party to the mediation will be equally responsible to pay the costs of the mediation.

How are the mediator’s fees determined?

The mediator charges an hourly rate for his time.
Please contact Harry S. Sudman at hsudman@sudmanlaw.com for more information.

Relevant Ohio Revised Code Sections (click to review):

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