Frequently Asked Questions
Mediation is a process in which an impartial third party, called a mediator, facilitates negotiations between disputants to help them devise mutually acceptable solutions to their dispute. The mediator assists the parties by asking questions, rephrasing issues and helping each side understand the other’s perspective. The mediator does not take sides, pass down decisions or offer legal advice. The mediator may discuss settlement options with the parties or, with the consent of all involved, may present to a court a settlement agreement. Mediation is generally much less expensive than moving a case through standard legal channels. In many cases, mediation results in a resolution of the matter within hours.
Unlike going to trial, mediation sessions are usually private and confidential. Participants are encouraged to tell their stories to the mediator in detail and to express emotions that are relevant to the dispute. In doing so, they often discover underlying issues to the conflict and improve their communications.
Mediators are specially trained in working with difficult situations and are expected to adhere to strict codes of conduct. At the outset of mediation, the mediator will normally ask the parties to agree that everything said in the course of the mediation is confidential and cannot be used as evidence in a lawsuit if the case does not settle.
The benefits of mediation include resolving the dispute privately and without the public airing that comes with litigation, reducing stress, saving money, preserving relationships, avoiding legal fees and limiting time spent in court. However, the mediation process can only be successful if the participants are willing to participate fully in the process and are prepared to negotiate. what is mediation