Mediation is a process where the parties meet with an impartial and neutral professional who helps them negotiate their differences.
Role of the Mediator
A mediator does not have the power to impose a decision or outcome. Instead, he or she helps the parties reach their own agreement. Mediation leaves the decision power totally and strictly with the parties. The mediator does not decide what is “fair or “right,” does not assess blame, and does not render an opinion on the merits or changes of success if the case were litigated. Rather, the mediator guides the parties through the problem-solving process by defining issues and eliminating obstacles to communication. This includes moderating the process and guiding the parties to avoid confrontation and ill will.
Benefits of Mediation
The main advantage of mediation is that it keeps the parties in control of their own situation. This can make all the difference in each of you being able to recover and move on with your life. Mediation allows you to experience less conflict than you would experience in an adversarial situation. It is also:
You can leave at any time for any reason, or no reason.
Because no participant in mediation can impose anything on anyone, everyone is motivated to work together to solve issues and reach agreement.
Each party has complete decision-making power and a veto over everyone provision of any mediated agreement. Nothing can be imposed on you.
Confidential and Informal
While court hearings of case are public, whatever happens in mediation remains strictly confidential. Mediation discussions and all materials developed for mediation are generally not admissible in court except as a finalized and signed agreement.
The mediation process offers a full opportunity to obtain and use legal or other expert advice. However, expect advice is not binding in mediation.
Impartial, Neutral, Balanced and Safe
The mediator has an equal and balanced responsibility to assist each mediating party and cannot favor the interests over one party or another, nor favor a particular result in mediation.
Fast and Easier to Schedule than a Court Process
It can take more than a year for a case to come to trial. Mediation can be scheduled and completed with a matter or weeks.
On average, it costs less to resolve an issue through mediation than to take it to court.
Helpful for Future Co-Parenting
In situations involving children, mediation can set the tone for future communication and interaction. Numerous studies have shown children do better in situations where conflict is minimized.
I’M INTERESTED, BUT…
My relationship with the other party is so bad I can’t see mediation working. The mediator is a trained professional experienced in handling conflict and improving communication between parties. Incases where domestic violence has occurred, specials accommodations can be made for safety.
I don’t have much money.
Divorce can be very expensive. A mediated agreement can help keep costs down by settling issues through the parties instead of through attorneys. Even if no final agreement is reached, parties may be able to agree on some issues.
Isn’t mediation only used for divorcing couples?
Any two parties having a conflict they are finding difficult to solve themselves may benefit by sitting down with a neutral mediator. This could include situations involving elder care, parent/child problems, general parenting decisions, or workplace problems.