Archive for Mediation

Why you should watch “Marriage Story” on Netflix

Promotional Poster from Netflix Film Marriage Story directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson

Theatrical Release Poster*

Most divorce professionals have “seen this movie before” in their own practices.

As a divorce professional for the last 20 years, I’ve been involved in more than one ugly divorce as I am sure you can imagine.  The stories are similar and seem to go one of two ways.  Either the parties get to a place where they can work through their differences out of court or the case devolves into a nightmare scenario where parents give up all control to a broken adversarial legal system.

The second option of the completely messed up divorce experience is powerfully portrayed in Marriage Story, now streaming on Netflix.  With a fantastic screenplay by Noah Baumbach, the film is the recipient of multiple Oscar nominations such as best actress, best actor, best picture, best supporting actress, best original screenplay and best original music score.  It’s a tour de force of acting prowess that made the critics very happy.  Marriage Story shines a light on the emotional trauma an adversarial process can cause when parties cede control of their families to the judicial system.

Our protagonists, Charlie (played by Adam Driver) and Nicole (played by Scarlett Johansson) are an artsy theater couple living in New York with an 8-year-old son.  We learn quickly that they are trying for an amicable split, but after a disastrous meeting with a less than competent mediator, things go pretty far south.  Mom moves to LA to reboot her acting career while Dad stays in New York.  While in LA, Mom hires a shark of an attorney in the form of Laura Dern.  What follows is the typical sorrow, pain and emotional destruction of the adversarial litigated divorce.

(An aside: The scene with the bumbling mediator would be great to use in a mediation training as an example of what a mediator should NOT do.)

Emotional Ambiguity is “Par for the Course” in Family Law

While the film gets some of the law not quite right, it nails the ambiguity and conflict experienced by a couple in divorce who are estranged yet still have good feelings somewhere- even if buried deeply.  In reality, when people marry and especially when there are children, there is a thread of positive in the feelings even when there is hurt and anger from a divorce.  I have learned as a family law mediator that the more tightly and deeply a person buries the good feelings for their ex, the greater the remaining love actually is.  Betrayal and hurt from a person one loves stings much more acutely than when it’s a person one cares less for.

Uncovering that Remnant of Good Feeling

Sometimes a remedy mediators use to find accord is to help the parties find that string of good feeling that remains – no matter how difficult to find and how small it is.  Litigation does the opposite. It creates new negative feelings and wounds unnecessarily, which chokes out the possibility for positivity and accord.

Divorce Litigation Disempowers

Further, divorce litigation takes control away from the parties.  It is disempowering, emasculating, demoralizing, debilitating and impoverishing. One particular scene in the film shows the lawyers arguing in the courtroom in front of a judge while Charlie and Nicole watch helplessly.  The attorneys take simple mistakes or misunderstandings and elevate them into unmitigated crimes against humanity.  While their horror is clear, they seem transfixed and paralyzed as the mutual assured destruction continues.

I’ve learned that such hyperbole argued in a courtroom tends to accomplish little.  One wise practitioner once warned me that it is rare for a person to be as horrible as portrayed by the ex spouse.  Insults hurled across the court room tend to boomerang.  This truth holds: water seeks its own level.  Said more coarsely, “Mother Teresa doesn’t marry Hitler.”

So, if you are a divorce practitioner, you owe it to your clients to watch this film as a window into what is going on when you aren’t there- the unintended consequences of a less than careful application of our craft.  If you are contemplating a divorce or are in the throws of divorce conflict, you owe it to yourself and your children to watch this film so you can be alerted to the dangers and pitfalls that may befall you without taking care.  As I always tell my prospective clients, the decision of HOW you divorce is almost as important as the decisions TO divorce.

*Note:  The Marriage Story Theatrical Release Poster shown above is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Netflix, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.  We use the image in this blog post to serve as the primary means of visual identification at the tip of the article dedicated to the work in question. 

Minimal Use: The image is used for identification in the context of critical commentary of the work, product or service for which it serves as poster art. It makes a significant contribution to the user’s understanding of the article, which could not practically be conveyed by words alone. The image is placed at the top of the article discussing the work, to show the primary visual image associated with the work, and to help the user quickly identify the work, product or service and know they have found what they are looking for. Use for this purpose does not compete with the purposes of the original artwork, namely the creator providing graphic design services, and in turn the marketing of the promoted item.  In fact, the use in this blog post serves to promote paid viewing of the film in question.

 

 

Forgiveness During Divorce: A key to finding peace

Shawn Weber Offers Back to School Advice for Divorced Parents on NBC 7 San Diego

*Note:  The Marriage Story Theatrical Release Poster shown above is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Netflix, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist.  We use the image in this blog post to serve as the primary means of visual identification at the top of the blog post dedicated to the work in question and as a featured image on this blog. 

Minimal Use: The image is used for identification in the context of critical commentary of the work, product or service for which it serves as poster art. It makes a significant contribution to the user’s understanding of the article, which could not practically be conveyed by words alone. The image is placed at the top of the article discussing the work, to show the primary visual image associated with the work, and to help the user quickly identify the work, product or service and know they have found what they are looking for. Use for this purpose does not compete with the purposes of the original artwork, namely the creator providing graphic design services, and in turn the marketing of the promoted item.  In fact, the use in this blog post serves to promote paid viewing of the film in question.

Seven Tips to Help Clients Prepare for Mediation

Hello I Am Prepared

Prepare for Mediation

So you have the big mediation date planned.  You hope the mediator will be able to work whatever magic she has so you can move the case to settlement and put the case to bed.  You’ve prepared yourself.  You know the law.  You have your arguments ready.  You’ve done your study of the facts.  But you forgot something crucial.  You forgot to prepare the most important person to your case—the person who actually has decision making power—your client!

Clients who prepare for mediation simply do better.  Client preparation significantly increases the chances of reaching a settlement.  Preparation is an often overlooked component of successful dispute resolution.  Importantly, clients are happier when they can settle outside of court.  So, here are seven tips to prepare your client for mediation.

Download our free tip sheet to
make sure you have prepared
your clients for success in mediation.

#1: Make sure the client understands the mediation process.

To prepare your client for mediation, it’s important for them to be clear on what is expected of them in mediation, and what the role of the mediator will be.  Mediation is not court. It is not counseling or therapy.  It’s a negotiation facilitated by a third-party neutral.

The mediator is there to facilitate and to help people bridge their gaps from a neutral perspective. The mediator doesn’t give legal advice and doesn’t get a tie-breaking vote if the clients disagree.

All decisions are up to the parties to mutually agree.  Mediation does not require people to get along. A good mediator will facilitate the conversation and bring balance — even in cases where one party may be a better negotiator than the other.

#2: Educate your client on the relevant law.

It really helps if your client is prepared and armed with information.  This reduces the amount of time the mediator has to spend educating the client.  If they know what their rights are before they come, then they are more able to consider proposals for settlement.

Also, assure them no one will be expected to sign binding agreements without the advice of counsel. This goes a long way toward calming any fears of being “tricked” into an agreement.

#3: Prepare your client to manage emotional responses.

People come to their conflicts with a myriad of emotions.  Most of us, whether we admit are not, make most of our decisions through the lens of our emotions.  This is fine unless the emotions become so intense that we lose our ability to think rationally.  In divorce cases in particular, emotions affect almost all of the clients decisions.  Sometimes parties themselves in the difficult state of fight or flight and are unable to think clearly.  If left unmanaged, a negative emotion can make reaching accord much harder.

Consider mental health professionals to coach the client.

If you are like most attorneys, you have not been trained in psychology.  It’s good practice to know where your limitations are.  Why not involve a mental health professional to act as a divorce coach to prepare clients to prepare themselves emotionally for what might be a challenging meeting.

Help the client come up with strategies to stay calm to help with rational decision making.

Coach your clients on the importance of managing one’s own emotional responses.  It’s good to normalize coping tools such as taking a break or breathing.  If you are going to be there with your client during the mediation, come up with a signal, such as a keyword or a hand gesture, to indicate when a person is loosing it.  That way, when the signal is given, you can take your client outside to calm down.

A good mental health professional can even help the client come up with mindfulness tools to keep them grounded.  You want your client to bring his or her best self so that she or he can negotiate rationally.

#4: Make sure your client realistically understands their best alternative to alternative to a negotiated agreement (BATNA).

It’s common for a client to have unrealistic expectations about how good their case is.  They may believe that their case is a slam dunk and that all they need to do is get in front of a judge so that can explain their case.  Naturally, the judge will see it their way.

But we all know that such is not always the case.  In Roger Fisher and William Ury’s seminal work, Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In, Fisher and Ury coined the phrase of the “Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement”  (BATNA for short). This is basically your client’s best case scenario if they end up in front of a judge.   A strong BATNA can empower decision making.

A client with an overoptimistic BATNA will make choices that put them at risk.  If they have a more realistic BATNA, it’s an important tool in negotiating a mediated agreement.  If a proposal is superior to your BATNA, then should take it.  Having a proposal that is worse than your BATNA will result in a person being less like to accept a proposal.

Be careful, however, that you as the professional also have a realistic BATNA.  I can’t tell you how often I have seen attorneys poorly advise their client because of an unrealistic BATNA.  They then go to court and sometimes get an unpleasant surprise.  So make sure you are thinking things all the way through yourself!

#5: Make sure your client realistically understands their worst alternative to a negotiated agreement (WATNA).

Fisher and Ury also teach us the phrase “Worst Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement” (WATNA for short).  Basically, the WATNA is the worst case scenario if your client ends up in court.  Sometimes a proposal is worth taking simply because it could be so much worse.  It’s a strategy of minimizing risk.

If your client is unrealistic about the worst case scenario and therefore has an uninformed WATNA, that can be very dangerous.  Your client may walk away from a deal that minimizes risk because he or she doesn’t understand how bad it can be.  Just like with the BATNA, make sure you are being realistic too.

I’ve seen a lot of attorneys advise their client not to accept a reasonable proposal only to go to court and do worse.  Client’s don’t love it when that happens- especially if they acted on your advice.  So, make sure you’ve got the BATNA right and be ready to move your BATNA or your WATNA once you get into the negotiation and learn new information.

#6: Get the client away from a fixation on things being “fair.”

Fair is the “F” word. Instead, focus on making a “good business decision.”

In negotiations, “fair” is largely meaningless.  What one person may define as fair may be worlds apart from what the other party defines as fair.  I find it best not to got there.  Fair is the “F” word in my conference room.

Rather, I coach my clients to leave “fair” behind and stretch for a good business decision.  If everybody is giving something up and a little disappointed, that means we are compromising… and that is GOOD.

Help your clients look for an agreement they can live with rather than an agreement that will conform to a mythical understanding of fairness.  Sometimes, the deal won’t ever be perfect.  But if you want your client to stay out of court, it may just have to be good enough.

See also: Why “Fair” is the F-Word in Divorce Negotiations

#7: Teach your client how to make realistic proposals.

He or she isn’t negotiating to get a bargain on a used car. It is a waste of time to offer terms pushing the extremes with the sole intention of pushing the other party to come closer a desired result. It is the road to frustration, mediation breakdowns, and a date in court in front of a judge.

See also: Tips on Making and Receiving Proposals

Download our free tip sheet to
make sure you have prepared
your clients for success in mediation.

Ways to Avoid Mediation Mistakes Too Many Lawyers Make

Early intervention: Why mediation early in a family law case can save a fortune in fees and stress.

Neutral Private Settlement Conference

Back To School Shouldn’t Be A Battle in Divorced Families

Can you believe it's back to school time already? Divorced parents need to make some specific preparations for a successful school year. Photo Wokandpix/Creative Commons License

Can you believe it’s back to school time already? Divorced parents need to make some specific preparations for a successful school year. Photo Wokandpix/Creative Commons License

Can you believe it’s already time for 60 million American kids to go back to school? Didn’t we just start summer?

Mixed feelings are natural at this time of year for everyone. Kids are sad about summer being over so quickly. But they are likely to be excited and happy to see friends and get involved in favorite activities like athletics, music, or robotics.

But if you are a divorced parent navigating co-parenting, back to school is a little more complicated. Who pays for what? What activities will the child get to be involved in? Who does the school call if there is a problem? Who gets to chaperone the field trip?  What school will your child will attend, near Dad’s house or Mom’s house?

The phone starts ringing at Weber Dispute Resolution at this time of year. Parents having trouble solving these issues come to us for help mediating their conflicts. We are glad they do, instead of taking their problems to court. If you need the same help for yourself or your clients, we hope to hear from you.

We offer these tips to help you start working through problems and considering your options.

Get on the same page about routines.

Get on the same page about school routines. Photo: Luci/Creative Commons License

Don’t make school any more complicated than necessary. Kids do better if you and your co-parent agree on routines, and so will you. Meet before school starts without the kids in a neutral location to discuss the routine details first. Some areas for discussion:

  • Emergency contacts and emergency procedures
  • Instructions about academics and schoolwork
  • Disciplinary issues
  • Transportation and pick-up
  • After-school activities

Once you agree, write it all down and share the plan with your children.

Deal with school expenses up front.

Custodial parents usually find themselves paying up front for back-to-school wardrobes and school supplies and then ask for half of the expenses. But even when parents agree to split the cost, sometimes one parent has very different ideas about how much to spend on things like clothes. Set a budget up front you can both live with. Keep copies of the receipts so you have a record of what you’re owed.

Share school supplies information.

You may be the parent in charge of school shopping, but your ex might want to be involved. It’s not uncommon for a divorced dad to take his child out and buy a hot pair of sneakers, backpack, or electronic device. Make sure you have talked in advance about whether Jim or Jane gets a cellphone or iPod. Purchases like this on a whim rarely end up without an argument and upset parents and kids.

Figure out what extra-curricular activities will be added – and paid for.

Are your kids into sports? Drama? Robotics? After school activities take time and money. Be sure you agree which parent is contributing both. Photo: KeithJJ/Creative Commons

Outside of the classroom, many kids want to participate in sports, music, drama, debate, student government, robotics or other science competitions. These activities can build valuable skills and develop passions your kids may follow into careers. But they also put a strain on your schedule and your budget. When time and money aren’t unlimited, you and your co-parent have to decide up front what’s realistic for your child and what’s not. Who is going to provide the transportation, and pay the fees?   

Coordinate everyone’s calendars.

There are going to be lots of events when school starts: sports and music practices, meets, science fairs, concerts, etc. And you think your workday is busy! Coordinate the school calendar with your parenting schedule. You want to make sure your child is able to attend important events. Have calendars in each house, one in your child’s backpack and give one to teachers or coaches to show which parent he will be with.

Negotiate attendance at school events.

Agree in advance to be courteous to one another at school events so you can attend at the same time. You can suck it up for the hour it takes every few months. If this is really, truly not possible, arrange to attend on different nights or at different times.

Meet the new teacher.

Meet your child’s teacher and stay in communication. Photo: Kevin Lopez/Creative Commons License

Divorced or not, it is always good to meet with your child’s new teacher. Let her or him know your child comes from a divorced home or a shared custody home. Children of divorce and separation often act out at school, have emotional moments, or just a bad day. Your child’s teacher should know what’s going on. But keep teachers and school personnel out of any conflicts between you and your former spouse.

Share information about your child’s education and progress.

Don’t play games or create obstacles for the noncustodial parent to get information. Unless you have a protective order, give permission to the children’s teachers, counselors, and medical professionals to share school information with both parents.

Arrange for duplicate notifications.

Information should be shared with both parents. It can be useful to arrange for separate, duplicate notifications about academic progress and school activities so one parent is not responsible for copying and sending information to the other, including anything like schoolwork or forms your child brings home; Do NOT make your child the responsible party.

A written record can help keep legal issues straight and problems from escalating. If you have a contentious relationship with your co-parent, why fan the flames at all? Arrange up front for a neutral third party like a mediator to be the point of mutual contact between you to ensure civility and cooperation.

Remember who school is for. It’s not a battleground to establish who is the better parent.

Remember, school is for your kids – not a battleground for you and your ex. Photo: Ernesto Silva/Creative Commons License

It’s great for you to be involved with your children, but don’t get into a competition with your former spouse. Your child is still dealing with your divorce no matter how long ago it happened while juggling the demands of school. Let school be your kid’s refuge, a place for him or her to have fun, learn, achieve and excel, and forget about difficult family issues.

No matter what, you can’t go wrong making a decision if you stop and ask yourself this: what’s in the best interest of my child? You get an A-plus.

READ MORE: Is Your Child College Bound? Who’s Paying For It?

 

Tips on Making and Receiving Proposals

If your family law case is at a crossroads, consider mediation to take it from conflict to quick conclusion. Photo: Geralt/Pixabay proposals

If your family law case is at a crossroads, consider mediation to take it from conflict to quick conclusion. Photo: Geralt/Pixabay

At times during your family law or divorce case, you will have the opportunity to make and receive proposals. Whether large or small, proposals are the backbone of negotiation.

A proposal is defined as a plan or suggestion, especially a formal or written one, put forward for consideration or discussion by others. During your negotiation, you will need to look at many different options and ideas for how to settle issues in your case. Proposals, even imperfect ones, serve an important role in moving the negotiation process forward.

If you are the party making a proposal, keep the following goals in mind:

Make It Specific. The proposal should be specific in its scope. A proposal is specific if it can answer the questions of “who, what, where, when and how.” Including as much detail as possible helps reduce ambiguity.

Less specific: “The children will be with Mother on every Tuesday.” Is less specific.

More specific: “Mother will pick up the children from Father’s house every Tuesday at 3 pm and will return the children to Father’s house on Wednesday at 3 pm.”

Specificity reduces miscommunication and misunderstandings.

Make It Realistic. The proposal should be realistic. Don’t make a proposal you know the other party won’t or can’t accept. You want to make proposals with a chance of being accepted.

Make It Possible. Be sure your proposal is something possible to do in the real world you live in. A proposal physically, intellectually, or emotionally impossible to perform really is a non-starter.

Based on Rational Evaluation. Especially in family law, it’s tempting to make a proposal based purely on emotional needs without rational evaluation. While your emotions are important, it is important your decisions are based on a rational evaluation of the facts.

Steps For Reviewing and Responding To A Proposal

If you are the party receiving a proposal, you should take the following steps:

Ask Questions. Make sure you understand the proposal before reacting. This is your opportunity to ask any clarifying questions before you decide whether or not to accept. If there is specific information you need before you can decide on the proposal, please be specific in letting your mediation team know what information you still need. It’s not helpful to simply accept or reject a proposal you may not understand. Take the time you need to be sure.

Respond. After you are sure you understand the proposal, there are three ways to respond:

  1. “I accept the proposal.” If you agree with the proposal, you accept and everyone moves forward to memorialize your agreement.
  2. “I do not accept your proposal, but here is my counterproposal.” If you do not accept the proposal, it becomes your responsibility to provide a counterproposal. If you would like to brainstorm ideas for a counterproposal, let your mediator help.
  3. “I need to think about it.” If you are not prepared to make a decision yet, that is perfectly understandable. You need not be rushed into a decision. You are encouraged to confer with counsel before agreeing to anything. If you need some time to consider the proposal, please provide your best estimate for your response whether you accept or offer a counterproposal.

Failure is Not An Option

You may notice “rejection” is NOT on the list. A blanket rejection without a counterproposal will simply halt negotiations. If a person rejects a proposal, that person has a responsibility to make a counterproposal.

Remember, there is no such thing as impasse in mediation! When you are stuck, it doesn’t mean you storm away from the table and declare a failure. It just means you and your mediation team haven’t found the right proposal yet.

But we will! Keep at it and be persistent and creative. You’ll get there. You might be surprised where you ultimately land if you keep an open mind to the possibilities.

Download our helpful “Summary for Accepting and Receiving Proposals”.

For further reading on proposals, see:

So, What’s Your Proposal?: Shifting High-Conflict People from Blaming to Problem-Solving in 30 Seconds! by Bill Eddy, JD, LCSW

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William Ury

 

Divorce Is Different On Rough Economic Seas – How a Recession Affects Divorce

If another recession is looming in 2019, it could greatly affect decision making during a divorce.
If another recession is looming in 2019, it could greatly affect decision making during a divorce.

It has been nearly a decade since the Great Recession. Since then, the U.S. economy has rebounded and then some. Unemployment is at record low levels, and people were finally starting to breathe easier about their financial circumstances.

But economists will tell you that recessions are cyclical and follow periods of strong growth, like the one we have recently enjoyed. It is likely another recession looms ahead. It could be mild or it could be more serious.

During the last recession, so many couples came to my office making decisions about their divorce to try and avoid financial hardships.  Divorces during a recession can be different.  Here are some thoughts based on my experiences.

Financial Strains Make Decisions for Divorce During a Recession More Difficult

Unemployment puts a tremendous strain on any marriage. Often it was the catalyst or the “final straw” and divorce was the result. Divorce itself is financial straining. Add a recession to the mix,  and the circumstances were catastrophic for everyone.

First, homes and other real estate had lost value. It meant in many cases couple had negative equity – they owed more than their real estate was worth. Sometimes people could afford a buy out allowing them to keep the house if credit was available. But in the last recession, banks became stingy about lending. People simply could not get loans to refinance the house.

So there were many couples who made the decision to defer sales—meaning they co-owned their real estate until a later time. Divorcing couples might even choose to live together in the family home even after legally divorcing, because there was no other option without losing money on the sale.

If a couple couldn’t make any of these options work. the alternative was to sell the home in a bad market. When this was the last resort, there were many short sales.

Others suffered from foreclosures on their property. Often bankruptcy wasn’t far behind.

Kids Take A Financial Hit

Couples would disenroll their kids from private schools, or take them out of expensive extracurricular programs like sports or music to save costs.

Health insurance was a big deal. If a spouse lost work and lost health insurance coverage from their former employer, couples might end up bearing the cost on their own, putting strain on their family. Sometimes a spouse in the role of full-time parent was counting on healthcare coverage from the working spouse. But after a divorce during a recession, they would face being cut off.

People who divorced prior to the recession suddenly found themselves unable to pay their monthly support payments, and would fall behind. The ex-spouse and the kids suffered from losing the income. Tensions would flare and fights over money would affect co-parenting relationships.

Gray Divorce Offers Unique Financial Issues

Divorcing close to your retirement date introduces new considerations, especially in tough economic times.

For divorcing couples close to retirement, which started being referred to as  “grey divorces,” their retirement accounts including IRAs and 401(k)s tanked right before they had to count on them for income. This is hard enough when married, but when a couple splits up in their 60s or 70s, the financial hit is devastating. There wasn’t enough time to recover before retiring.

It’s hard to determine whether divorce rates increased or decreased during the last recession. One theory is that financial strains on marriages caused more couples to divorce. But it’s also possible some people chose not to divorce during a recession because they just couldn’t afford it.

Impact of Impending Recession on Your Divorce

It’s my belief recession is inevitable, and not too far off. For couples contemplating divorce during tough financial times, economic decisions will affect many aspects of their lives during a divorce.

Divorce is hard enough on a family. Divorce affected by a financial recession is even worse. If divorce during a recession becomes inevitable, people can lessen the financial burden by pursuing mediation and other no-court options.  These options give people the opportunity to divorce for less money.  They also allows couples to find creative solutions when dividing financial assets, figuring out ways to pay for their children’s education, or preserving retirement funds.

Big Change Coming in California Mediation Law in 2019 You Need to Know About

Confidentiality has always been one of the cornerstones and significant advantages of  mediation over litigation. Unlike mediation, all of the documents and statements in court are a public record, there for everyone to read and hear – including your relatives, co-workers, neighbors and friends.

Now, despite overwhelming concern from many major legal organizations and experts that it was a fix for a non-existent problem, California Governor Jerry Brown has signed a new law passed by the state legislature which changes the California Evidence Code and adds a new section in connection with mediation.

The new law requires attorneys representing clients in mediation to provide disclosures in writing about mediation confidentiality. The attorney must provide the disclosures to clients BEFORE the client agrees to participation in mediation, or AFTER if the client hires the attorney after agreeing to mediation. The law tells attorneys what this disclosure must say and how it must be formatted. The client must sign the disclosure form. The law goes into effect on January 1, 2019.

What does this mean to you and your clients who engage a mediator?

If you are an attorney who represents a party who agrees to engage a mediator such as Weber Dispute Resolution, it is YOUR responsibility to comply with this new law.

Contact Weber Dispute Resolution if we can answer your questions about mediation or provide mediation services to help you avoid expensive and PUBLIC litigation.

How to Comply with California’s New Mediation Disclosure Requirement

To make it a bit easier to comply with the new California Evidence Code section requirements, Weber Dispute Resolution has created a draft form which complies with the requirements of the California Evidence Code starting in 2019.

If you are an attorney representing a client who decides to enter mediation, you MUST provide this form to your client prior to the start of the mediation process.

If you are an attorney who is hired by a client who has already agreed to enter mediation before hiring you, you STILL must provide this form, even though you are being hired after the fact.

Download a legally compliant form for your use HERE.