Frequently Asked Questions
What is Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)?
ADR is a general term for resolving a dispute (whether family, civil or otherwise) without going through the formal court process. Simultaneously, it provides an opportunity for a complete resolution. ADR can save time, money and increase the overall satisfaction with the outcome of disputes by a session of mediation or arbitration.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is private and less formal than a court trial. During arbitration, an arbitrator (usually an experienced attorney or retired judge) makes a decision based upon the information presented by both sides which can be either binding or nonbinding.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a form of ADR. Mediation is a “facilitated negotiation” wherein a mediator serves to moderate and facilitate the negotiation of the parties.
What is the difference between mediation and arbitration?
Mediation is a voluntary dispute resolution process; all parties consent to participate in good faith and work toward a mutually agreeable resolution. Litigants are not bound to resolve their dispute unless an agreement is reached and a settlement contract is drafted. Mediations are not ruled in favor of one party or another; rather, the mediator simply facilitates the negotiation. A CEDRS mediator counsels the parties on the strengths and weaknesses of their case and determines each party’s likelihood of success if the dispute proceeds to litigation.
Arbitration is very similar to a trial. The arbitrator hears a dispute between one or more parties, considers all relevant information, then renders a final decision in favor of one of the parties. Decisions may be either binding or nonbinding, depending on the terms of the arbitration agreement. Binding arbitration decisions may be confirmed by a court and act the same as a court judgment.
Which is right for me?
Deciding on an arbitration and mediation is entirely your (and/or your attorney’s) decision to make. While CEDRS cannot make the decision for you, we like to encourage parties to mediate rather than arbitrate since it has a higher success and satisfaction rate.
When can I mediate/arbitrate?
ADR can be used at any point in a case to resolve one or several issues of a case, whether you have an attorney or you’re self represented.
What kinds of cases can I mediate/arbitrate?
Virtually any case type can be mediated: civil law, legal/medical malpractice, probate, real estate, animal welfare, employment, construction, contracts, business, personal injury, family law cases such as property division, child support, spousal support (alimony), paternity, child custody, parenting plans, and more can be mediated.
How does it work?
1. Contact CEDRS and speak to a Case Manager for information. It is essential for you to understand that no one from or representing CEDRS will provide you with legal advice—you will only receive information about how to proceed with your mediation/arbitration.
2. After the opposing agrees to schedule a mediation, we will ask you to complete some preliminary forms. When the forms are completed and returned, the initial deposit is paid by both parties and the first mediation session is scheduled.
3. Attend your mediation or arbitration on the decided date and time.
4. If, at the close of the mediation, both parties are in agreement, both will sign the final documents for submission to the court. If your case is already filed and you come to an agreement during mediation, that agreement will be an enforceable document that can be turned into a Judgment by a simple motion if one of the parties refuses to cooperate or comply with the terms. If your case is not already filed, the agreement may be enforceable by the court and a judgment pursuant to the terms may be entered.
Why should I choose Mediation?
-It’s faster than going to court
Studies have shown that the vast majority of cases filed in court (95-98%) do not go to trial. Courts are desperately overcrowded with the local counties having the highest caseloads per judge in the entire state. As a result, court fees are being increased, delays in civil and family trial cases are years long and court matters are routinely postponed or continued which may consume more of the parties’ limited time.
Mediation gives the parties the exclusive attention of the mediator who has scheduled an allotted time to settle your case. Instead of waiting six months, a year, or more for a trial, cases can be resolved through mediation within weeks and at a fraction of the cost of taking a matter to trial.
-It’s Cost Effective
Almost no matter what the mediator may charge, it is far less expensive than taking a case to trial. Even though the parties are generally responsible for the fees, in most cases what the parties save in the costs of litigation, will more than compensate for the costs of the arbitrator or mediator.
Mediation is a strictly voluntary and confidential, meaning everything said and done during your session will be in complete confidence with the mediator.
-It puts you in control of your case
In a hearing, the court will apply the law as it sees fit and the parties have very little to say about how the order is created. In mediation, neither party can be forced to accept a decision. Also, participating in mediation does not impact the party’s right to a court hearing if it is desired. If an agreement is not reached through mediation, the parties have a right to continue through the court system or schedule another session. However, an experienced CEDRS mediator can bring most issues to a final resolution.
Why haven’t I heard about this?
A valid question and one that we would like an answer as well but chances are that: 1) the courts were too congested, disorganized or preoccupied to mention alternative dispute resolution and 2) some attorneys try not to promote and endorse ADR since it may conflict with their litigation standards and ideals.
How much does it cost?
Contact our offices for a FREE evaluation and quote! Rates start as low as $600 per side ($1,200 total) for half a day of mediation.
…So what do I pay?
Unless otherwise stipulated, it is customary for the costs to be divided equally among the parties. For example, if your case is quoted at $1,200, plaintiff and defendant will each pay $600.
…That sounds like a lot for one day
While it may sounds like a large sum of money up front, we ask our clients to compare the costs of ADR and traditional litigation. Your case may be resolved during one session of mediation (rates starting at $600 per party), while attorneys charge at an average rate of $284 an hour. If your lawyer worked on your case for five hours a week for a month, you have already incurred nearly $6,000 in one month of litigation. Consider also, that the average case takes at least 2 years to get to trial. By that time, you have accumulated about $68,160 in legal expenses! In comparison, one day at $600-1,200 is relatively miniscule.