Mediation is a private process where a neutral third person called a mediator helps the parties discuss and try to resolve their dispute. The parties have the opportunity to describe the issues, discuss their interests, understandings, and feelings; provide each other with information and explore ideas for the resolution of the dispute.
While courts can mandate that certain cases go to mediation, the process remains “voluntary” in that the parties are not required to come to an agreement. The mediator does not have the power to make a decision for the parties, but can help the parties reach a resolution that is mutually acceptable. There are a number of different ways that a mediation can proceed.
Most mediations start in a joint session. The mediator will describe how the process works, will explain the mediator’s role and will help establish ground rules and an agenda for the session. Generally, parties then make opening statements. Some mediators conduct the entire process in a joint session. However, other mediator’s will move to separate sessions, or caucus and therefore go back and forth between the parties. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator may help reduce the agreement to a written contract, which may be enforceable in court.
Mediation is usually the parties’ last best chance to resolve a dispute based on their terms and allows the parties to be in control of the resolution rather than surrender the resolution to the decision of a judge or twelve strangers, otherwise known as a jury.
Give me the opportunity to go to work on helping you resolve your dispute.