Can mediation help me avoid foreclosure on my home?

by Thomas D. Richards, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist

One of the best ways to get the lender to come to the table and start talking with you again is to request court mediation. The court has the power to force the lender into mediation and put some pressure on them to work with you. On your own it may be difficult for you to get the lender to talk to you once the case is referred out to a law firm to file the foreclosure.

Most counties, at least in Ohio, have set up their own internal mediation departments and have hired trained mediators to handle the large volume of foreclosure mediations. You need to request mediation through the magistrate court when you attend your first foreclosure hearing. You should consider hiring an attorney to do this for you. If the magistrate will refer your case to mediation, this will slow down the foreclosure process and take some pressure off of you and allow for more time for you and the lender to try to work things out.

In larger, more populated counties, it can take up to three or four months just to get the first date with a mediator. You will be required to provide financial documents to demonstrate your hardship. The mediator will explore all of the available options and try to get the lender to work with you and help you keep your home. If you decide that you do not want to keep your home any longer or can no longer afford it, the mediator will help you reach this decision and refer the case back to the magistrate to proceed with the foreclosure.

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