Qualified Neutral under Minnesota Court Rule 114 for Mediation and Arbitration

Mediation:  An Alternative to Litigation
Family Issues
  • Custody and Parenting Plans
  • Grandparenting
  • Visitation Schedules
  • Expenses and Reimbursement
  • Conduct, Respect
  • Coordination
  • Property Division
  • Miscellaneous Issues
  • Commercial/Civil Disputes
  • Insurance Claims
  • Case Resolution
  • Contract Disputes
  • Workplace Issues
  • Real Estate Disputes
  • Business Dissolution & Accountings
  • Estate Issues
  • Miscellaneous Civil Matters

    Mediation is a flexible approach to resolving disputes. Parties meet privately with a neutral who assists as they explore the disagreement which has them at odds. The neutral third party facilitates communication between the parties to promote settlement, and offers an opportunity for self-determination by the parties.

    Mediation allows parties an opportunity to settle matters in the privacy of the mediator's office. In many cases, this can help resolve the issues and avoid an often long, expensive, and unpredictable court process.

    The Minnesota Supreme Court has adopted rules encouraging mediation and arbitration of cases already in the courts. Parties can also choose to mediate or arbitrate controversies which have not been commenced in the courts. Many other courts and government agencies also encourage mediation and arbitration. These and other forms of alternative dispute resolution have a long tradition in legal systems and cultures.

    Mediating Insurance Claims and Other Cases Already In Court
    In Minnesota, and many other jurisdictions, courts will encourage, or even require, that the parties attempt mediation before the case goes to trial. Parties to a case can benefit from the selection of an experienced, neutral, independent mediator who is unconnected with the other parties or their attorneys.

    Mediating Matters That Have Not Been Filed In Court
    Many disputes can benefit from an attempt to resolve them by mediation before they become a law suit. Parties should discuss these matters with an attorney to determine the issues involved, including what deadlines might apply, for example. In many instances, the parties can attempt to mediate a resolution and possibly avoid going to court altogether.

    Mediating Dissolution of Marriage (Divorce)
    Mediation is well-suited to the enormous difficulties that accompany dissolution of a marriage (divorce). In our sessions, you concentrate upon what you want to resolve. You voice your concerns, one at a time. You observe for yourself that you can move the process along. You observe that you can improve your life and the lives of those you care about by participating.

    In this absolutely private and confidential setting, we will explore the issues that have not found simple resolution. These might be property matters or payments or dividing up current responsibilities. If you were previously divorced and are now having difficulty with one aspect of your existing arrangement, mediation can address that alone.

    Families with Children
    Your children are deeply affected by the dissolution. You can help them cope by simply coping well yourself. This includes focusing upon the future and constructing positive goals and workable plans. Every family is different. We will study your situation and explore the ways to meet the needs of the adults and children. We will draw upon all the resources that the adults and children have to offer. We will confront the realities of your new 2-household lifestyle and study how to make it work for everyone.

    Parents always want the best for their children. In mediation, we maintain that focus. We actively resist the tendency to inject the children into a battle and turn them against the other spouse. We actively search for ways for the children to benefit, not suffer, from your new living arrangement.

    We concentrate upon establishing the new relationship each parent will have with the children. We make sure that both of you will continue to fulfill the children's needs for love, care, and security.

    Family Mediation: How We Begin Mediation
    We begin with a no-charge orientation session during which I will answer your questions and discuss your present situation and the costs of the mediation sessions. The orientation can be conducted over the phone or in person, as you prefer. After you have both discussed your intentions with your attorneys, we will plan to meet for our first working session.

    Everything is done by agreement. At the first working session, we prepare a written agreement expressing your commitment to participate and cooperate as we proceed to mediate your issues. Then we begin to address the issues.

    Time and Location of Sessions
    The first session is usually 2 hours long, held at a mutually-convenient time and location. Most of the time we will all meet together, but sometimes there will be a reason to contact one party separately, by phone or in person. All of this is disclosed to both parties. I have frequently met with people during the evening or on weekends when this worked best for them.

    Commercial/Civil Mediation:
    Civil disputes are handled according to whatever the parties find most convenient. Through phone conversations, we determine a plan for submitting documents, teleconferencing, and arranging meetings. Parties are urged to focus on the main issues and use whatever procedures are most convenient and economical.

    Independent Mediation and Arbitration Services
    I am a completely independent mediator and arbitrator, not connected with any other firms or attorneys. In my opinion, this independence assists parties to feel assured that their matters are receiving entirely neutral treatment.

    Before beginning law practice, I was a trained counselor and social worker, with much of my work involving families and the aged and disabled.

    Beginning in 1986, my law practice has included arbitration and mediation with private parties, for the courts, and under auspices of organizations administering arbitration programs. My education includes special training in arbitration and mediation, including numerous continuing education courses and initial training by Steve Erickson and Marilyn McKnight of the Erickson Mediation Institute. I previously served on bar association committees involved with alternative dispute resolution (mediation and arbitration) and lawyer professionalism.

    I am a Qualified Neutral under Minnesota Court Rule 114 for Mediation and Arbitration, and have served on the arbitrator panel of the American Arbitration Association, and the Fourth Judicial District (Hennepin County) Alternative Dispute Resolution neutral roster. I am a volunteer mediator of attorney-client fee disputes through the Seventh District Bar Association and have been a frequent arbitrator of No-fault automobile insurance disputes involving insurance companies and insured parties.

    GERALD HASSELBRINK, Attorney at Law
    of the Minnesota Bar and United States District Court
    Qualified Neutral under Minnesota Court Rule 114 for Mediation and Arbitration


    St. Cloud - St. Joseph, Minnesota
    Phone (320) 251-0222 | (320) 363-0414


    Copyright 2010 Gerald Hasselbrink
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