What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process in which a neutral mediator uses a structured but informal process to help parties in conflict calmly exchange their differing viewpoints and then negotiate their own proposals for settlement of the dispute. The mediator can help each side confidentially explore the strengths and weaknesses of their own position, help parties craft solutions for settlement and help the parties draft a written settlement agreement. If the participants choose to make it so, settlement agreements can be binding and admissible to the court.
Why Choose Mediation?
Mediation is less formal and more relaxed than a trial, and reduces the time and expenses associated with litigation, yet can result in a binding settlement contract between parties. A professionally trained neutral will help each side explore the strengths and weaknesses of their position, prioritize their interests, negotiate their own interests against those of the other side and draft settlement terms on which the parties can agree. The mediator is not the decision-maker, and will not make any kind of judgment or decision.
- Voluntary – Unless ordered by the court, mediation is completely voluntary. Either side may terminate mediation at any point, and there is no pressure to reach a settlement agreement.
- Self Determination – Participants determine the pace of mediation, whether or not settlement will be reached and what the settlement terms will be.
- Effective – Settlement agreements are realistic because parties create their own terms, and thus are more likely to abide by settlement agreement.
- Flexible – Mediation works for new or old conflicts, simple or complex issues.
- Forward-Focused – Disputes can be put to an end. Mediation focuses on how both parties can mutually agree to move forward with their lives.
- Personal – Understanding other perspectives and taking personal responsibility can salvage important personal and professional relationships.
- Less Stressful – Mediation avoids the trauma of going to court to “fight it out”.
Does Mediation Work?
YES! Mediation is:
- Successful – Typically 70% or more of mediation cases reach settlement.
- Private – Confidential settlement agreements ensure that disputes and personal issues won’t become part of a court record.
- Affordable – Mediation typically costs just a few hundred dollars, which can be split between the parties. Compare this to the high cost of litigation and the potential of having to pay both the other party’s and your own legal fees.
- Fast – Disputes can often be resolved in one day.