The United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Mississippi agree that mediation is the best and most timely way to resolve disputes in bankruptcy cases. Mediation is helpful in several instances such as when the bankruptcy involves a complex estate or if there is a mortgage modification and it is difficult dealing with the lender. The courts also determined some guidelines as to how the mediation process should work.
Here’s a look at these guidelines and how they can benefit anyone who has as dispute in a bankruptcy case.
- Mediators are neutral and are there to help facilitate negotiations. When you have two sides in any case, sometimes there is a standoff and neither side will budge. A mediator is there to help the two sides work their way to a resolution. While a mediator is neutral, he or she may make settlement recommendations according to the court rules.
- Once a judge has ordered mediation, all parties are required to attend, including lead counsel. Other parties involved in the case must also be there or be available by telephone unless the court makes an exception. If someone who is required to attend mediation does not, there could be sanctions.
- Mediation can help a court case move faster through the system. According to the state of Mississippi rules, once the court has ordered mediation, the parties have 21 days to schedule it. After mediation is completed, the parties have 14 days to tell the judge if the case was settled.
- All of the negotiations in mediation are confidential and cannot be used in court. This gives the parties the freedom to say things they might not want to say in an open court hearing. This openness can help negotiations. Once a case goes into mediation, the parties cannot communicate directly with the court minus a few exceptions in the case the information would present harm to the public health or safety or the information establishes a violation of the law.
While either party in a case can requests mediation, the presiding judge can also make a request. Once there is an agreement, a mediator, also referred to a neutral must be selected. The parties may agree on the mediator. If not, the court may appoint one to help negotiate the case.
Mediation is a way to avoid a lengthy and costly jury trial in some cases. For some, it has saved thousands of dollars and a lot of time.