Agreement to Mediate
The commitments the two of you make when you start mediation are specific and narrowly defined. Specifically, with most mediators you don't commit to any number of sessions, you don't pay in advance, and you don't even commit to negotiate. Your only commitment is to accept the confidentiality of mediation. Here's the Agreement to Mediate I ask clients to sign before beginning mediation.
This memorandum indicates our agreement for both of you to enter mediation with me, hoping to use the mediation process to agree on the issues surrounding your separation and divorce. We agree as follows:
1. I will act as a neutral facilitator to help both of you reach your own settlement. I will not make decisions about "right" or "wrong" or tell either of you what you should do.
2. I will not offer legal advice or provide legal counsel. You are both free to consult an attorney at any time during mediation to understand better your own legal interests, rights, and obligations.
3. Mediation is not psychotherapy or counseling, and it does not replace such services.
4. Both of you agree that the success of mediation depends on complete and honest disclosure of relevant information and documents to each other and to me. This includes providing to each other and to me all information and documents that usually would be available through the discovery process in a legal proceeding. If either of you fails to make such full disclosure, a court might rule later that the agreement resulting from mediation is not binding.
5. We intend to continue with mediation until we reach a full settlement of the issues surrounding your divorce, but all three of us agree that any party can withdraw from mediation at any time.
6. We have agreed to observe the following guidelines during mediation:
7. During the mediation process, I will prepare successive drafts of various computer spreadsheets and a Draft Settlement Agreement and, in most cases whenever changes have been made, distribute copies to both of you at the end of each mediation session. At the conclusion of the mediation process, I will provide a copy of the Draft Settlement Agreement to both of you. Each party will be free to review the Draft Settlement Agreement with his or her attorney or other consultant before the agreement is placed in final form and signed.
8. You agree to pay me $200 per hour for time in sessions with you. I will charge for time outside sessions for time spent talking to either of you or to your attorneys. I will only charge for work time outside sessions if all three of us specifically agree to it in advance. You will pay money as necessary to bring your account to a zero balance by the end of each session. If either of you fails to appear for a scheduled mediation session, and neither of you has called to cancel the session more than 24 hours in advance, you will pay the full cost of the session.
9. The success of mediation depends, among other things, on honest and open communication. Accordingly, all three of us will treat all written and oral communications made in the course of mediation as privileged settlement discussions. To ensure confidentiality, we agree as follows:
We agree that each of us has read and understood this Agreement to Mediate and that we agree to be bound by it.