Mediation is an informal process where parties try to resolve a dispute without the hostility that is sometimes associated with going to court.
In mediation, the parties meet in a private setting to work out a solution to their problem with the help of a neutral third person, the mediator. A mediator does not decide who is right or wrong. The mediator helps each side to better communicate and understand their situation.
The mediator promotes a problem solving atmosphere and reduces the temptation to engage in unproductive behavior. The mediator ensures that each of the parties to the dispute has an opportunity to be heard and understood. The mediator encourages the parties to create a solution that meets their individual needs.
How Does Mediation Work?
Dealing with disputes is often frustrating and terrifying, having a neutral party to help gives the parties a chance to talk together about the problems that prompted the petition. Mediation provides a way to work out a solution that addresses those problems in a way that is acceptable to everyone involved.
What are the benefits of Mediation?
- You have the opportunity to present your ideas in a private setting with the support and advice of your attorney.
- Both parties can be heard
- You have the opportunity to control the outcome.
- It is led by a trained, impartial Mediator
- Reach agreements that could possibly keep you from going to court.
- Give you options you might not have known were available to you
- Improve communications between the two parties
- Cost of mediation could potentially be less than litigation.
How do I prepare for Mediation?
It is important to come to your mediation session with an open mind, be open to new options, and be willing to share information with all parties involved. The goal is to work together to reach and understanding that is acceptable to both parties.
If you have an attorney, discuss ahead of time what your expectations are for an acceptable outcome.
It is important for you to understand the nature of your dispute and what you want to happen to resolve the dispute. Do your research.
What happens during Mediation?
- The mediator will explain how mediation works and will answer any questions you have
- The mediator will then ask each party to describe what they would like to have happen in their case, express their feelings and share their viewpoints about the issue at hand.
- The mediator may meet with each party separately (along with your attorney if you have one) so you can speak freely.
- If an agreement has been reached, it will be put in writing and signed by all parties involved. That agreement will then be presented to the judge.
- The judge then reviews the agreement and issues a court order approving the agreement.
- If an agreement cannot be reached, the case will be heard in court.