What is Mediation?
Mediation is an informal process where a mediator helps parties reach an agreement regarding their dispute. The purpose of the mediation session is to identify pertinent issues, clarify misunderstandings between the parties, brainstorm solutions, and negotiate a settlement that is acceptable to all parties. Mediation focuses on the future and its possibilities, rather than dwelling on the past.
What Does the Mediator Do?
The mediator’s job is to help facilitate discussion between the parties, enabling the parties to resolve their issues themselves. The mediator is not a judge and will not force any solution or agreement on any party. The mediator must remain impartial throughout the mediation process.
How Does Mediation Work?
All parties at the mediation are encouraged to provide a summary of their position. If not represented by attorneys, the parties and the mediator will all work together in the same room. There will, however, be opportunities for each person to speak privately with the mediator in a caucus. The caucus allows each party the chance to communicate any concerns he or she may have, or vent his or her frustrations, outside the presence of the opposing side. The goal at all times will be to facilitate the parties in reaching an agreement.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
- Parties control the outcome.
- Disputes can be settled quickly and without going to court
- Better relationships among parties through the use of cooperative problem solving and open communication.
- Privacy and confidentiality of issues personal to the parties.
- Because it is voluntary, the mediation may be stopped at any time by any party or the mediator.
- Costs are substantially less than those associated with litigation.
- Flexibility in scheduling. Mediations may take place at any time or location that is agreeable to all parties and the mediator. There is no waiting for the case to come up on a court docket.