Mediation is a process for resolving conflict and creating agreements. Mediation has a higher success (80-90%) and compliance rate than court-imposed judgment, according to the American Bar Association. The parties meet together on neutral ground with trained, impartial facilitators (Mediators) who guide the parties through a process of:
- Listening and Information Sharing: Parties state what they wish to accomplish in mediation and their views and positions, expressing both facts and feelings. The mediators paraphrase and ensure all parties have the opportunity to express themselves without interruption.
- Identifying the Issues: The mediators then assist the parties in identifying specific issues they wish to work on and what interests they may have in common.
- Generating Options (Brainstorming): With the assistance of the mediators, the parties begin to generate options for resolving each of the issues. All ideas are accepted, without evaluating at this time.
- Resolution/Agreement: The parties evaluate each option, aimed at reaching mutual agreement on a resolution that reflects their common interest. Mediators do reality (“what if?”) testing and help the parties construct the agreement in their own words. After the final session, the mediators will write the agreement and transmit it to the parties.
- The parties control the outcome, most often producing a “win-win” result.
- Agreements are crafted in a few days, avoiding long court delays.
- Costs are just a fraction of most legal fees, potentially saving thousands of dollars.
- The process preserves and rebuilds trust and relationships between parties who will continue to have a common interest; e.g., parents of a child, or customers/clients.
- Voluntary: Any of the parties can stop the process at any time.
- Confidential: Mediators and the parties may not reveal to others what occurred in mediation without the written permission of the parties. Mediators must report suspicions of child abuse or neglect, threats of harm, or criminal acts by the parties.
- Mediators may not give the parties legal advice. They can provide, if appropriate, information about the law or legal process.
- Once signed by the parties, an agreement can be viewed by the court as a legally-binding document. Therefore, the parties are advised they may wish to have the agreement reviewed by legal counsel before signing it.
Preparing for Mediation:
Bring to and/or be prepared to discuss at the mediation all information relevant to resolving the dispute and to be included in the agreement. This might include contracts/existing agreements, leases, data on income and expenses, etc. In cases involving family matters such as child custody, visitation, support, or divorce/separation, see more information on our Family Mediation page.