Mediation services are a way of resolving conflict and disputes between people. Typically, the process is quick, less expensive and more informal than a trial. In addition, mediation is confidential and preserves the relationship between the parties. It is often used in family law matters, workplace situations and contract negotiations.
The Mediation Process
During the mediation session, the mediator takes the time to meet with each individual, listen to their concerns and help them understand how each aspect of the dispute could be resolved. The mediator assists the parties in thinking “outside the box” and exploring options that may be available to them. The result of the mediation is an agreed settlement that satisfies both parties. The mediator will usually write a written summary of the mediation for both parties to review and consider.
Mediation is a voluntary agreement to resolve conflict, and the process can be undertaken before any lawsuit is filed. Once a lawsuit has been filed, the court will often require the parties to participate in a mediation prior to trial to attempt to settle the case. Mediation can also be a great option in cases where the individuals involved are willing to try to resolve the conflict on their own. However, it is important for everyone to be aware of the limitations of mediation as some disputes must be decided by a judge or jury. If you have questions about mediation, please contact the appropriate department of a court, or check with your local Community Dispute Resolution Center (CDRC) for information about free or low-cost mediators.