What is Mediation?
With mediation, YOU have CONTROL over the outcome and the FLEXIBILITY in designing solutions that work for YOU. Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) that is an alternative to traditional litigation. Mediation is an informal, flexible process for resolving disputes. Mediators are an highly trained, impartial, neutral third party that helps guide the mediation and the drafting of an agreement. Instead of handling the dispute, the mediator facilitates the parties' efforts to reach a mutually acceptable solution. By holding joint sessions and private meetings with the parties, the mediator helps both sides define the issues clearly, understand each other's positions, and work toward resolution. The mediation process is voluntary, and the parties directly craft a settlement. Neither party can be compelled to settle. However, a mediated settlement is binding and enforceable.
What are the Benefits of Mediation?
Although there is a fee for mediation that may be comparable to attorney fees, the overall cost of mediation is less than it would cost taking the case through the standard legal process. Mediation costs less because it is a much quicker process and usually results in a resolution in a few hours.
Mediation is a confidential process whereas court hearings are public. The only individuals that know what occurred in mediation are the participants. Due to the confidential nature of mediation, in most cases a mediator cannot be compelled by the courts to testify about the mediation and anything shared in the mediation.
In mediation, it is the participants that decide how the case will be resolved. A key feature of facilitative mediation is that the mediator acts to help the parties act collaboratively to create a solution that works for both parties. In a court case, it is the judge or jury that decide on the outcome of the case.
Because the parties worked together to create a mutually agreeable solution, compliance with the mediated agreement is usually high. In addition, the mediated agreement is fully enforceable in a court of law which reduces the likely hood that further action involving attorneys will have to be taken to enforce the agreement.
Facilitative mediation helps each party to understand the positions and interests of the other party. Rather than making recommendations or imposing a decision, the mediator encourages disputants to reach their own voluntary solution by exploring each other's deeper interests. Each party better understands the other party’s position leading to a greater probability of a successful agreement.
Mediators are trained in working with difficult situations. The mediator acts as a neutral facilitator and guides the parties through the process. The mediator helps the parties think "outside of the box" for possible solutions to the dispute, broadening the range of possible solutions.