Mediation in California

Mediation is a non-confrontational way to resolve conflicts and disputes without the courts, judges, or lawyers.

In mediation, the participants work together to find a solution, rather than working against each other.

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Rucker Alex

email: rucker <at> post.harvard <dot> edu / phone: 530.918.8558

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I try mediation?

Mediation is helpful for conflicts between two (or more) parties that are within the community, workplace, or families. It can also be used for landlord-tenant and business-consumer cases. In a respectful environment, you will have the opportunity to explain the situation from your own point of view and to hear other participants’ explanations from their points of view. You will also receive support from an experienced facilitator to decide and document an agreement that works for everyone.

Mediation provides many benefits. It is:

  • Flexible - Decide timing and format that work for you.

  • Voluntary - Parties can decide to participate and create a mutually acceptable agreement.

  • Confidential - Everything said during mediation is confidential.

  • Satisfactory - Mediation is a “win/win” process, unlike the courts. Our goal is to reach an agreement that is satisfactory to everyone.

  • Preventative - Thanks to the process, mediation also helps reduce future disputes between participants.

How is a mediation set up?

Call or email to ask questions and provide basic information. I will then contact the other party and ask if he or she is willing to try mediation. Mediation is a voluntary process, though once people understand the process and the benefits, they usually want to resolve the dispute quickly and affordably through mediation. Together, we will identify a date and time and decide to meet in person or via video conference.

How long does it take? What do I need to do to prepare?

Most mediations will be a session that lasts 1 to 2 hours. As I will explain during the preparation call, you are welcome to bring relevant information with you on the day of the mediation.

What happens in a mediation?

I will serve as a neutral facilitator, asking each party to explain their perspective, asking clarifying questions, and encouraging people to hear each other. I will help brainstorm solutions and draft a mutually acceptable agreement for your review. The agreement is a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding that both parties will sign.

After the mediation, you may choose to engage a lawyer to create a legally-binding agreement based on the Memorandum of Understanding.

How much does it cost?

Mediations are priced to be affordable to all.

  • For Siskiyou County, California residents: most mediations are $40 for a session, with each party contributing $20. *

  • Outside of Siskiyou County: most mediations are $90 for a session. *

Payments are requested before the mediation date and can be made by PayPal, Venmo, check, or cash.

* Please contact me to request a need-based discount or fee waiver.

What is the role of a mediator? What are your credentials?

There are different types of mediator roles. I take the role of a "facilitative mediator," which means that I am neutral; don't make decisions or judgments; uphold our agreements for confidentiality, respect, and reasonable requests; and don't force outcomes.

My conflict resolution credentials include:

  • Completed 40-hour training that exceeds the requirements of the California Dispute Resolutions Programs Act (DRPA)

  • More than 150 hours of mediation experience through cases filed in California civil courts

  • More than 10 years of experience facilitating discussions on complex topics and drafting agreements.

Is mediation a legal process?

Mediation is a dispute resolution process. The services I offer abide by the legal terms of the California Dispute Resolution Act, including preserving confidentiality.

Mediation is not a legal proceeding over which the court presides. I do not offer legal advice.

Is mediation confidential?

Yes. Under California law, anything said during mediation is confidential. Documents prepared for a mediation, or during the course of a mediation, are also confidential. Neither are admissible as evidence in court unless the written and co-signed mediation agreement expressly states the parties’ intention for it to be admissible as evidence of their agreement.