Mediation is a confidential form of alternative dispute resolution, where the parties are assisted by a neutral third party to negotiate a settlement. The mediator does not represent either party and does not give either party legal advice. The purpose of the mediator is to keep the lines of communication open between the parties. The mediator is there to help brainstorm ideas, sometimes provide a reality check, and assist the parties in their decision-making processes. The mediator helps to referee when the parties get off track. Mediation allows the parties to air their grievances in a safe, controlled setting and then reach reasonable compromises.

Types of Minnesota Family Mediation

When we talk about family mediation in Minnesota, we are generally referring to one of three types of mediation:

Standard Mediation

In standard mediation, the mediator is a neutral third party who helps the parties frame issues, identify possible resolutions, and reach their own agreements. The mediator does not direct the parties or issue any type of ruling.

Evaluative Mediation

In evaluative mediation, the mediator is an expert in the subject matter of the parties’ dispute. The mediator does not issue a ruling or tell the parties what to do, but suggests, based on their experience, how a court might rule on the issue. Knowing what a court would likely decide regarding their dispute often helps the parties reach their own resolution.

Early Neutral Evaluation (ENE)

Courts often refer couples with unresolved issues in their divorce matter to Early Neutral Evaluation. As the name suggests, this takes place fairly early in the divorce process. Similar to evaluative mediation, the process gives parties an idea of how courts might handle their dispute to encourage them to reach their own agreement.

There are two types of Early Neutral Evaluation: social evaluation for issues like custody and parenting time. To avoid bias, social evaluation usually involves both a male and female mediator. Financial evaluation is used to address issues relating to finances, debt, and property.

Advantages of Mediation in Minnesota Family Law Matters

In addition to minimizing time in court, mediation puts the decision-making process in your hands, rather than a judge’s. No one knows your family like you and your spouse. Mediating allows you to customize a settlement that will meet those unique needs. With its focus on achieving a “win-win” resolution, mediation may also be quicker and less costly than litigating a divorce, custody dispute, or other family law matter.

Mundahl Law supports the use of mediation in Minnesota family law matters. If you would like to mediate your family law dispute, one of our attorneys can serve as your mediator. If you reach an agreement, another attorney in the office can memorialize the agreement in writing for your signature. Please see our Scrivener Page.

Let Mundahl Law help you create the future you deserve through mediation. Located in Maple Grove, Mundahl Law serves Hennepin County and the surrounding areas of Minnesota, including St. Michaels, Otsego, and Buffalo. We invite you to contact Mundahl Law online or via phone at (763) 575-7930. We look forward to working with you.