Family Mediation FAQs
The time involved in reaching a fully-informed agreement depends on several factors. If you have a couple of matters to resolve, you may need just one two-hour mediation session. If you are using mediation to make decisions on a range of matters and if you need to gather more information, it might take longer. It's up to you.
- It is up to the parties to decide which issues they are willing to mediate. However, the following issues are appropriate for mediation:
- Custody of Children, including physical custody and visitation schedules, participation in extracurricular activities, transportation, and education.
- Child Support, including monthly payments and expenses for daycare, healthcare, and extracurricular activities.
- Partition of Community Property, including real estate, vehicles, household items, and retirement plans/pensions.
- Health and life insurance matters.
- Spousal support.
Mediation costs are based on an hourly fee and are due at the time of service. The per-hour charge is the fee for both of you to attend the mediation session and preparation of the Memorandum of Understanding. It is generally paid equally by the parties, but can be divided in accordance with any agreement reached by the parties.
Cooperative Family mediation can be conducted with or without attorneys present. This is a decision that the parties need to make prior to attending the mediation so that the mediator and both parties can be prepared. If you choose to participate in family mediation without attorneys present, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney prior to the mediation so that you may obtain any legal advice and information you may need to negotiate. If attorneys are not present, any agreement reached during the mediation will not be final until after the parties have an opportunity to review the agreement with an attorney.
Talk to your attorney prior to the mediation regarding the matters at issue in your case. Write down a list of issues that are important to you. Gather documents that provide the information relevant to the decisions that you may have to make during mediation, which can include school schedules, extracurricular activities schedules, and financial information. Be prepared to listen during the mediation and consider different ways to reach and or revise your goals.
Civil Mediation FAQs
Most civil disputes can be mediated, including but not limited to those involving personal injury claims; property disputes; contract disputes regarding alleged breaches of contract, desired contract revisions, early terminations, and other contract disputes; and workplace matters, including discrimination and disparate treatment claims; termination/separation of employment; workplace condition claims; labor disputes; and other employment issues.
The length of time spent in a mediation session varies depending on many factors, including the type of case, the number of parties, and the status of the legal proceeding. However, most cases can be resolved in one mediation session lasting between 4 – 10 hours.
Yes. A signed settlement agreement is as enforceable as any other contractual agreement. Louisiana Revised Statute 9:4111(A) specifically provides that "If, as a result of a mediation, the parties agree to settle and execute a written agreement disposing of the dispute, the agreement is enforceable as any other transaction or compromise."
Although mediation should not be used as a discovery tool by either party, it is often most helpful to bring documents and other evidence to the mediation for use during the private caucuses with the mediator. These items can be shared with the other side during the mediation session through the mediator if it is determined it may help the settlement process.
If the mediator determines the parties are at an "impasse," the mediation will end, and the parties will be able to pursue their claims in several ways. The parties can continue negotiations directly or through their counsel, they can reschedule another mediation session, or they can proceed with the discovery process and ultimately to trial. Although facts learned during a mediation session may later be obtained in standard discovery practices, evidence of anything said by either party during the mediation is not admissible at a trial, should there ever be one, as mediation is a strictly confidential process. The mediator is prohibited by law from disclosing information to anyone – including the judge assigned to the case.
Healthcare Mediation FAQs
A government investigation of your healthcare organization can be an intimidating experience. The most important thing you should do if you know you are being investigated is to contact an experienced healthcare attorney. This way, you will have someone on your side that understands the laws and can help you make decisions that are in your organization's best interest. The government is powerful and has lawyers of its own. You deserve the same support and representation.
Healthcare attorneys deal with regulations and practices related to healthcare institutions. This includes hospitals and nursing homes. They might represent healthcare organizations or healthcare professionals and offer advice, draft contracts, or provide aid in the creation of company policies.
If you are being investigated for a violation, a healthcare attorney can assist in investigation and litigation. A healthcare attorney can also provide assistance with regulations related to the Anti-Kickback Statute, the Stark Law, or the False Claims Act.
If you believe there was an error and are being charged incorrectly for a medical bill, you should first contact the hospital and your insurance provider. In some cases, the mistake will be easy to correct, and the problem will be solved. Often, though, the issue drags on, and it takes some effort to resolve the dispute. An attorney can help you investigate the matter and escalate the dispute without having to deal with it alone.
The Stark Law places limitations on certain physician referrals for patients covered by Medicare and/or Medicaid. The goal of the law was to prevent medical doctors from sending Medicare and Medicaid patients to a healthcare provider in which the doctor or his or her immediate family member has a financial interest. The best way to reduce the risk of violating the Stark Law is to ask an experienced healthcare attorney to review all business and referral arrangements.
Kickbacks are a type of anticompetitive practice that occurs when funds are misappropriated or misused in order to improperly reward a person or organization for providing an advantage. Penalties for providing kickbacks are significant and can include fines of up to $25,000 and up to five years in prison. An attorney can help you if you are accused of not following the Anti-Kickback Statute by getting the charges dropped, negotiating plea deals or immunity deals, or defending yourself from accusations.
Having issues with your health insurance company can be stressful, especially at a time when you might be dealing with serious medical issues, too. An attorney can provide assistance when you are dealing with health insurance issues by negotiating on your behalf and ensuring you receive the compensation to which you are entitled. Healthcare attorneys know the rules and understand how to protect your rights when it comes to denied claims.
A health insurer or medical provider cannot implement or enact any policies that disparately impact members of a protected class. This means they cannot deny coverage, refuse essential health benefits, or cancel a policy for discriminatory reasons, and if you believe this to be the case, you have a right to file an internal appeal with the insurance company or an external appeal with a state or federal agency. A healthcare attorney can help you file the correct appeal and build a strong case in your favor.