WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a powerful method of alternative dispute resolution available to parties in disagreement. Mediation is a process of negotiation facilitated by a certified neutral third party. Unlike binding arbitration, which is another process of ADR somewhat similar to trial litigation, mediation doesn’t involve decision-making or judgment by the neutral third party. On the contrary, Mediation permits a neutral to facilitate both sides of a dispute to reach a middle ground that is mutually agreeable to the parties in the dispute. Mediation is the inexpensive alternative to resolving disputes without paying to litigate in Court or in arbitration. It also gives you the power to determine your own fate, as opposed to a judge or 12 strangers in a jury box.
IS MEDIATION RIGHT FOR YOU?
When parties are unwilling or unable to resolve a dispute, the first and least expensive option to attempt to resolve the dispute is to turn to mediation. Mediation is generally a confidential, short-term, structured, task-oriented, and “hands-on” process. In mediation, the disputing parties work with a neutral third party, the mediator, to resolve their disputes. The mediator facilitates the resolution of the parties’ disputes by supervising the exchange of information, relating the positions of the parties through “caucusing”, and the bargaining process. The mediator helps the parties find middle ground and deal with unrealistic expectations. He or she may also offer creative solutions and assist in drafting a final settlement. The role of the mediator is to interpret concerns, relay information between the parties, frame issues, and define the problems.
WHEN TO MEDIATE?
Mediation is usually a voluntary process, although sometimes homeowners association documents, contracts, employment agreements, statutes, rules, or court orders may require participation in mediation as a condition precedent to court or arbitration. Mediation is common in small claims courts, housing courts, family courts, and some criminal court programs and neighborhood justice centers. Unlike the litigation process, where a judge imposes a decision over the matter, and controls evidence, the parties and their mediator completely control the mediation process — deciding when and where the mediation takes place, who will be present, how the mediation will be paid for, and how the mediator will interact with the parties. The mediation is usually paid for upfront, so that the parties are dedicated to getting the matter resolved.
Is Mediation right for you?
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