Mediation Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use mediation?

Anyone involved in a non-criminal dispute can benefit from professional mediation. Finger Lakes Mediation deals with issues from child custody battles to business disagreements to elder care problems. Even in high-conflict cases, mediation provides a better outcome than litigation.

What happens first in the mediation process?

When beginning the mediation process, all parties are introduced in a safe setting and the subject of the discussion is defined. However, if children are involved, they often sit this part out.

Should I get a lawyer?

The choice of whether or not to retain an attorney is at your discretion and depends on the nature of your case. We always encourage exploring your options.

Can I bring my lawyer?

Of course. Any party who wishes to have their attorney attend mediation may do so.

What if I’m not safe?

If you or your loved ones are in danger, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence hotline, at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Does a mediator give legal advice?

Your mediator will not give legal advice. However, we are knowledgeable of legal matters and offer mediation services according to current state standards.

What kind of paperwork do I get?

When an agreement is reached, your mediator will draw up a Memorandum of Understanding that can then be notarized. Finger Lakes Mediation always suggests that you have your attorney review your paperwork.

Should I bring my kids?

The welfare of children is our highest concern and the mediation process will be conducted accordingly. If the children are of an appropriate age, and choose to take part in discussions concerning custody and visitation, they may do so.

How do mediators help kids?

Children have a right to have their voices heard and validated. We strive to understand everyone’s position and plan for the next steps. As the mediation process continues, we may meet with the parties individually (a practice known as caucusing) or as a group.

What if the other party doesn’t want to use mediation?

The mediation process must be agreed to by all parties involved. The most important thing one can bring to mediation is an open mind and cooperative attitude.

How much does mediation cost?

Mediation is a cost-effective option that puts the deciding power in your hands. At Finger Lakes Mediation Services, we charge an hourly fee that can be shared by the parties in a way that all agree on.

What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?

With mediation, the ultimate decision is in your hands. An arbitrator has the ability to make a decision without the agreement of one or more parties in the debate.

How long does mediation take?

All mediation cases are set up to follow our client’s parameters as closely as possible. Your mediator will work with you to establish a timeline with goals and steps to achieve those goals. Finger Lakes Mediation promises to give every case the time and dedication it needs to be solved.

How do I prepare for mediation?

We encourage you to call our Rochester office at (585) 750-6530 and tell us what kind of situation you’re dealing with. We will then advise you on what preparations will be most helpful to mediate your case.

How do I know the decision will be fair?

Finger Lakes Mediation is fully committed to a fair outcome for every party involved. Your needs are our first priority. At the conclusion of mediation, your mediator will draw up a Memorandum of Understanding that outlines what has been agreed to. We encourage you to have your attorney review this document.

Is mediation confidential?

With Finger Lakes Mediation, you can be sure that the proceedings are completely confidential. We will never divulge information about your mediation case to others unless required to do so by law. If disclosure of any information to legal authorities is required, your mediator will advise all parties of this before beginning mediation.