Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party facilitates discussions between parties to help them come to their own mutually acceptable resolution of a dispute. A mediator may assist the parties by asking questions, re-framing issues and helping each side understand the other. The mediator may also offer options to the parties and assist them in finding solutions. The mediator does not take sides, make decisions or offer legal advice and all conversations are confidential.
There are many benefits of mediation over traditional litigation. In addition to being faster and less expensive, mediation allows the parties to decide what terms of a settlement they would like to include in their agreement, allowing them to keep the most important aspects of the relationship intact, if possible. Mediation is often conducted even before a lawsuit is filed, which can greatly shorten the timeframe in which the matter must be resolved. Mediation can be used in a variety of disputes, including family law, divorce, employment and real estate issues.
When looking for a mediation service, it is best to ask around. A good mediator will have a reputation of being effective, competent and fair in the work that they do. Inquire with others who have been through a divorce or other similar conflict and see if they can recommend a particular mediator. A good mediator should be able to direct conversation, listen to the parties and provide a safe environment in which the discussion of difficult issues can occur.
Some courts will also keep a list of approved mediators that are available to the public. Oftentimes, these courts will offer the mediation services on a sliding fee basis depending on the income of the parties involved. You can also find a list of mediators by visiting the website of your state’s courts administration office or your local courthouse.
It is also helpful to mediate with a mediator who has experience in your type of case. For example, if your dispute involves divorce, custody, or property division, look for a mediator with that type of experience. This will ensure that the mediator is familiar with your particular issue and can use that knowledge to guide the discussion in a productive manner.
When selecting a mediator, it is helpful to look for someone who is able to empathize with the difficult situations that are likely to be discussed during the mediation session. This will help the mediation to be more successful and help both parties feel more comfortable in the environment.
It is also helpful for the parties to be aware of what their essential and non-essential interests are and try to anticipate how the other party might approach the issue in the mediation. This can help the parties find creative solutions that are more likely to be agreeable to all parties. If a solution is not found in mediation, it is likely that the case will need to go to trial. mediation services