Frequently Asked Questions


While going to court and litigating may sometimes be a necessary tool, it’s generally the tool of last resort, because it is time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally difficult.  There are other dispute resolution and problem-solving tools available, and we have long experience and training both in using them and in acting as neutral mediators/arbitrators. Contact Gould-Saltman Law Offices for street-smart “MacGyver” problem-solving.

Q. Is the less sophisticated spouse at a disadvantage in a mediation?  How can that person negotiate?

A. The mediator does not represent either party,  and does not be advocate on behalf of either party.  It is a mediator's job to facilitate negotiation.  It's important that both parties to a mediation be willing to share the information the other party and the mediator need to make an informed settlement.   It's also important that both parties have access to professionals who can help them understand complex issues. Mediation doesn't preclude any of this, but a neutral  mediator will not give legal advice to either party.  If one party does not have an attorney, mediation will not necessarily provide support for an uninformed spouse.

Q. If I pursue mediation, can I consult my own lawyer?

A. No; good mediators encourage clients to have independent counsel review proposed settlements. In some cases, clients may choose to have attorneys participate in mediation sessions.  

Depending on the issues, it may also be helpful and productive to involve other professionals (psychologists, accoiuntants, appraisers, etc.) in the mediation process.

Q. Can I force my spouse to go to mediation?

A. With some exceptions, no.  Also, since the outcome of a mediation is either an agreement, or “no agreement”, if one party is determined to not agree to anything, mediation will not be productive.

Q. If I come to an agreement in mediation, do I have to go to court?

A. When issues are resolved in mediation, the parties will not need the court to decide those issues.  The agreement resolving those issues can be reduced to a written aqgreement and made into a court order or judgment, and that agreement or judgment can usually be presented tro the court for approval without the need of a court appearance.

Q. Do I have to resolve all  issues in mediation?

A. No. If you are able to resolve all but one issue between yourselves, you can go to mediation for the remaining issue.

Alternatively, if you resolve some issues in mediation, but are unable to resolve others,  you can enter into an agreement on the settled issues and if litigate the remainder as necessary.

Q. What is “collaborative resolution”?

A. Collaborative resolution is method of consensual conflict resolution in which both parties are represented by their own attorneys, but are under a collaborative resolution agreement. The primary difference between collaborative law and mediation is that in collaborative resolution, is that in a true collaborative agreement, if the parties and their lawyers are unable to resolve all of the issues and any issue of the case needs to be litigated in court, then neither party’s “collaborative process” attorney can continue as that person’s litigation attorney.  If the parties wish to have counsel for any litigation, they must retain a separate attorney for the litigation.

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