Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). As a mediator, Valerie Botter meets with both parties to mediate issues in any of the practice areas listed under legal representation (e.g., divorce, custody, child support, alimony). Because she has completed the requisite amount of mediation training and is a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation, communications between Valerie and her mediation clients are confidential by operation of law. As a result, neither client may call Valerie as a witness in any subsequent litigation in Court. Below are two types of mediation services that Valerie offers:
As a traditional mediator, Valerie works directly with couples who have the desire and ability to work together to resolve their issues. Her role is to assist with the creation of their own settlement. Once she provides mediation services to a client, however, she can never represent that client as an attorney. Valerie recommends that each client obtain a separate attorney to provide individually tailored legal advice but she may proceed as a mediator if one or both clients choose not to retain counsel.
Mediation can be a healing process that sometimes involves less conflict and moves faster than traditional legal representation. Mediation is not for everyone, but if both people have a desire to try mediation, can both safely articulate their own needs and desires in the other’s presence, both have a relatively similar level of sophistication when it comes to the issue at hand (whether it be child-related or financial), and are both confident that the other person will participate with honest financial disclosure, mediation will likely result in an agreement.
Valerie also offers services as a mediator with attorneys present with the clients. This is especially helpful when negotiations between attorneys have reached an impasse. Valerie’s role as a neutral can often lead to settlement and avoid stressful and costly legal proceedings.
Once an agreement has been reached in mediation, Valerie drafts the written agreement which is filed with the Court together with the other necessary paperwork to bring the matter to judgment. Valerie provides the necessary forms with instructions so clients may file the documents directly with the Court.
CASE EVALUATION AND CONCILIATION
As a case evaluation mediator and conciliator, Valerie meets with both parties and their attorneys (if they are represented by counsel), reviews documents provided by them, and offers opinions and guidance to help the parties settle the unresolved issues. This can be a very useful tool for a complex case that is headed to trial with no likely settlement in sight. Trials are expensive and emotionally draining and the parties lose the opportunity to craft the terms of their final judgment. Case evaluation and conciliation are forms of ADR that can steer a case away from a trial and quickly move it toward creative and satisfactory settlement.
Email Valerie or call 413-586-8651.