Evaluative mediation uses much more of a hands-on, than hands-off approach. In evaluative mediation, the mediator will frequently offer suggestions and recommendations. These suggestions and recommendations will be based on her history of similar cases, her understanding of the law, her experience with these issues and the particular judge’s inclination to rule in a certain manner. The evaluative mediator will often share with the parties the strengths and weaknesses of their respective cases.
Because evaluative mediation is often conducted in separate rooms, each party will generally not hear the strengths and weaknesses of the other party’s case. In this type of mediation, the parties can meet in the same room, but can also meet in separate rooms when needed. When attorneys are involved, this type of mediation is almost always used and the mediator will “shuttle” back and forth between the two rooms.
Pros to evaluative mediation: It’s a very effective type of mediation, especially with a well-experienced mediator. Most cases settle in this type of mediation.
Cons to evaluative mediation: No real cons to this type of mediation.
We use a combination of all three types of mediation. When attorneys are not involved, we rely most heavily on facilitative mediation with some transformative mediation. This allows the parties to reach their own form of agreement, while also teaching and empowering the parties.
When attorneys are involved in the process, we tend to rely more heavily on the evaluative type of mediation, discussing with the parties and their attorneys the strengths and weaknesses of their respective arguments.
We encourage parties to discuss the mediation types with us when you have your initial consultation. Many people feel disadvantaged when entering mediation. Ask questions before and during the mediation. We will not advocate for either party during a mediation, but we will always answer questions.
Ask questions. If you don’t know your rights pertaining to alimony, ask questions like, “How does the court calculate alimony?” If you are unclear about your rights pertaining to child custody, you might ask “How does the court resolve child custody disputes?” If you don’t know how the courts will divide your property, ask that question. As your mediator, we do not represent you and therefore, we cannot advise you. We cannot tell you what you should do, but we can certainly tell you what the court could do under certain circumstances.
Do your research. Google searches may not provide you with information on New Mexico laws, but it will educate you. Look up New Mexico laws and statutes. Go to www.nmcourts.gov and you will find information and forms. By reviewing forms, you will begin to understand what is expected of you and what your rights may be.
Bring documents. Documents help the mediator ascertain the incomes, assets and liabilities of the parties. Even if you don’t know the other’s party’s income, bring documentation of your own income which will encourage further exchange of documents. Bring tax returns, copies of bills and bank statements.