Our law firm is pleased to announce that we now offer mediation services.Mediation is a process of alternative dispute resolution, to litigation. Litigation has become so incredibly expensive that the average person can no longer afford to process their problems and grievances through the Court system.Mediation provides people with a process that can be a far less expensive way to resolve their problems and grievances. Many of these are also people that simply do not want to go to Court, for whatever reason.Possibly because they find the whole litigation process intimidating.Possibly, because they do not want their private matters made public.Possibly because they are seeking a less antagonistic process to resolve their disputes with others.Mediation can be the answer for people like these as well. Mediation is a process where the parties to the dispute come to the mediation facility, sit down with the mediator who acts as a facilitator, and the parties work out an agreement that resolves their dispute.The process is private, the mediator cannot be called as a witness if the dispute does not get resolved, and what is said in mediation is to be confidential, not able to be used against either party should the matter proceed to Court. (Note: there are a few exceptions to these rules, such as during mediation, someone reveals the commission of a crime, or they are about to commit a crime, or about to hurt someone). Attorney Hayes is a lawyer but when he acts as a mediator, he is not a lawyer for any party to the mediation nor does he give legal advice to any party in the mediation.There may be times that come up during mediation where the parties may find it helpful to have an understanding of the law, and if the parties agree, Attorney Hayes is willing to provide an understanding of the law in a given area.The parties are encouraged to hire their own lawyers from whom they can seek legal advice. We are frequently asked by people who call us, how do we get started.First, the parties to the dispute all have to agree to participate in the mediation process.Mediation is a voluntary process, and any party is free to leave the process at any time.Next, the parties who have the authority to enter into an agreement to settle the dispute must be present.Once the parties to the dispute have agreed to mediation as the process they are willing to use to resolve their dispute and that the decision makers necessary to make the decisions will be at the table in the mediation process, they should call our office and schedule a time to come in for an orientation session. As a general rule, orientation may take approximately two hours.At least 72 hours before the orientation is scheduled to begin, the fee for the orientation must be paid in full.Generally, each party will pay one-half of the orientation fee.A party can pay by cash, check, money order, bank check, or MasterCard or Visa.If a personal check is used for payment, the check must be received by us at least 5 days before the orientation is scheduled to begin.If full payment is not received as above stated, the orientation session will be cancelled. The actual mediation process differs depending on the type of mediation. DIVORCE/CUSTODY/FAMILY LAW This section is intended to provide you with a brief overview of how the process works. Attorney Hayes received his training as a divorce, custody and family law mediator from Dr. Carl Schneider, of Mediation Matters in Bethesda, Maryland.Dr. Schneider is recognized as one of the leading mediator trainers for divorce, custody and family law in the United States. During the orientation session, each party will be required to sign a contract to retain our office to conduct the mediation.Mediation sessions are generally scheduled in four-hour increments.Each mediation increment must be paid in full at the time of scheduling.There are no refunds if a mediation increment is cancelled 72 hours or less before the mediation session is to begin. Upon agreement of the parties, upon the successful conclusion of the mediation, our office will draft the agreement the parties have arrived at, for the parties’ signatures. CIVIL This section is intended to provide you with a brief overview of how the process works. Attorney Hayes successfully completed the Executive Mediation Training Program as a civil mediator from Mr. Charles P. Doran of Mediation Works Incorporated in Boston, Massachusetts.Mr. Doran is a member of the CPC Dispute Resolution Panel of Distinguished Neutrals, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Harvard Mediation Program.Mr. Doran is recognized as one of the finest facilitative mediators in the United States. As with those who participate in the divorce mediation process, for those who participate in using a mediator involving civil matters, a Contract is required and the payment and cancellation policies are the same.We will draft the agreement the parties arrive at, if the parties agree they want us to do this. The civil mediation process differs from the divorce, custody and family law mediation process, as during the mediation process it is not unusual to separate the parties.In divorce, custody and family law mediation, separating the parties virtually never occurs. There any many advantages to mediation over litigation.If children are involved, it is Dr. Hayes’ opinion they benefit by having their parents engage in mediation rather than litigation. Attorney Hayes is continuing his education and training in mediation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and at seminars offered by some of the best alternative dispute resolution trainers in the United States. If we can be of service to you, please give us a call.