Mediation is a good fit for cases where the issues in the case are not simply legal but relational. Because it is a collaborative process, mediation can be useful for cases where the parties are family members or people with long-term relationships.
You can request mediation at the structuring conference, or by filing a motion. All parties need to agree to mediation for it to be referred. The court may also refer the case to mediation at the court’s discretion. If the case is referred to mediation, you will receive the Notice of Mediation Session, which has the date and time of the mediation.
Cost of Mediation
Mediation is free for the first twelve (12) hours. You, the other parties, and the mediator may enter a private agreement to continue the mediation after twelve (12) hours with payment made directly to the mediator.
Preparing for Mediation
Complete the Probate Mediation Prep Form. Send a copy to the other parties and the mediator at least ten (10) days before the mediation.
The Mediation Process
The mediation will occur at the date and time listed on the Notice of Mediation. You are given twelve (12) hours for mediation though mediation often ends earlier. The mediation starts with the mediator explaining the process and the ground rules for participation. You can find the ground rules in the Mediation Participation Agreement. The mediator will then lead you and the other party through a discussion. The mediator may choose to speak with you (and your attorney) alone, or with the other party (and their attorney) alone. If you and the other party come to an agreement on a topic, the mediator will keep track of the agreement that was reached. You may come to an agreement on all issues, on some of the issues, or not agree.
At the conclusion of your mediation session, the following may occur:
- Mediation continues: You, the other parties, and the mediator all agree that continuing mediation would be helpful. You, the other party, and the mediator schedule a follow-up session. If it is beyond the initial twelve (12) hours, you will need to enter a private agreement with the mediator.
- Full Agreement: You and the other parties have come to an agreement on all the issues. The mediator will draft the written agreement and send it to you and the other parties to review. If the agreement is satisfactory, you must sign the agreement and file it with the court. The mediator may, if they choose to, help you file the agreement, but it is your responsibility to send a signed copy of the agreement to the court. After the agreement is signed, it will be presented to a judge for review. If the judge approves it, the agreement will become a court order.
- Partial Agreement: You and the other parties have come to an agreement on some of the issues but continuing mediation would not be helpful. The mediator will draft a written agreement for those issues you came to an agreement on, and send it to you and the other parties to review. If the agreement is satisfactory, you must sign the agreement and file it with the court. The mediator may, if they choose to, help you file the agreement, but it is your responsibility to send a signed copy of the agreement to the court. The court will then schedule the next event and you will receive notice.
- No agreement: The mediator will notify the court that you and the other party did not reach an agreement and the court will schedule the next event. You will receive notice.
Mediators have completed a 40-hour mediation training course and have a minimum of five years’ experience. The Court assigns mediators to cases. Every effort will be made to accommodate parties if they prefer someone specific from the probate mediator list.
If your case has been referred to the Complex Trust Docket, and the judge has ordered the case to attend mediation, you can find the list of complex trust docket mediators here.
Laws, Rules and Procedures
- Motion (NHJB-2201-DFPe)
- Structuring Conference Form (NHJB-2177-Pe)
- Probate Mediation Prep Form
- Agreement to Mediate (NHJB-3229-DFP)
- Agreement Form (blank) (NHJB-2202-DFPS)
- ADR Report (NHJB-2324-DFP)
- Mediator Statement for Payment (NHJB-2630-DFP)
- Complex Case Statement for Payment (NHJB-2691-FP)
- Mediation Questionnaire (NHJB-2091-DFPS)
General probate case questions: 1-855-212-1234
Mediation questions: email@example.com
Let us know how mediation worked for you: www.surveymonkey.com/r/NHMediation
Neutral Case Evaluation (NCE) is an informal, confidential process managed by a judicial officer who is not the judge hearing the case. For more detailed information, please refer to the NCE protocols.
NCE is available to any divorce/parenting cases filed in New Hampshire which has already completed mediation. You and your attorney are expected to have attempted settlement prior to requesting NCE.
Request NCE by filing a motion or by asking your Judge at the next hearing to assign you to NCE. Both parties have to agree to use it, so if you have not already agreed with the other party to request NCE, the Court will ask the other party if they would like to participate in NCE. The judge hearing your case will determine whether NCE is available and whether your case should be assigned to NCE. You will then schedule a date for NCE with court staff. If your case is referred to NCE, you will receive a Notice of Neutral Case Evaluation with the date and time of your NCE.
Preparing for NCE
Fill out the NCE Preparation Form. Send a copy to the other parties and the court at least ten (10) days before your NCE.