Mediation is a confidential, cooperative problem-solving process. A neutral mediator helps participants to communicate constructively. The participants and the mediator work together to reach an agreement that works for all parties.
When should I use mediation?
When you want to resolve a dispute in an amicable, non-adversarial manner. When emotions are getting in the way of communication. When you want to preserve or repair the underlying relationship. When you want to establish improved communication with the other party. For example:
- You want a divorce but don’t want to drag your partner through protracted court proceedings.
- You have a recurring disagreement with a neighbor.
- You hit a communication impasse with a coworker or family member.
- You have a legal problem that you want to solve without going to court.
How does mediation work?
A neutral mediator facilitates respectful and productive communication between the participants. Each participant has the opportunity to raise and discuss important issues. The process is confidential, enabling the participants to talk openly and explore a full range of ideas for resolving the conflict. The mediator does not provide legal advice, but helps the participants to enhance understanding and create solutions.
Mediation is a voluntary process. All participants must agree to mediate. Most mediations are conducted in a joint session, with all participants present at all times. Sometimes, however, it is necessary to separate the participants into different rooms for a caucus session. Caucus sessions allow participants to vent intense emotions or weigh the other participant’s proposals in private. Agreements can only be reached if all participants agree on all the terms.
How does mediation differ from litigation?
The court system is an adversarial formal structure for resolving disputes. Parties make their most aggressive arguments in court or risk forfeiting them. A judge, who does not know the parties, makes a decision based on those arguments. One party wins and one party loses. The judge controls the outcome and often neither party is satisfied.
Mediation, on the other hand, is cooperative and flexible. Every mediation is unique, depending on the type of conflict and the needs of the participants. In mediation, participants have the opportunity to say what they really want and feel, without fear of losing a legal advantage. This open and clear communication empowers participants to design solutions that meet everyone’s needs.
Learn more. Schedule a free consultation today or call 510/629-9520