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Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation

What is Mediation?

Mediation is a way for people who are having a dispute to talk about their issues and concerns and to make decisions about the dispute with the help of another person, a mediator. In mediation, you can try to find solutions that make sense to you and the other person in the dispute to resolve some of all of your concerns. A mediator can assist you in easing the way for communication, as they are there as a neutral person to help you focus on solving your dispute, though mediators are prohibited from providing therapy, counseling or legal advice. In some cases, court ordered mediation’s are required. If you are taking part in a court ordered mediation and unable to settle your differences, you will go back to court and the judge or jury will make a decision for you.

Court ordered mediation begins with the mediator explaining the process, as well as their role. The mediators introduction is typically followed by an opportunity for both parties to admit their concerns. After these initial procedure, how the mediation is conducted varies. The mediator will usually meet with both parties, together and individually. If you are represented by a lawyer, you and your lawyer must decide on your roles throughout the mediation (ex: who will speak during mediation). The mediation will end in one of three ways, 1) parties reach an agreement – all parties and their lawyers must sign the agreement; 2) the mediator declares an impasse; or 3) the mediator continues the mediation session by adjourning for the day.

Advantages of Mediation (via Florida Courts)

  1. Mediation provides an opportunity to talk with someone who is impartial.
  2. The issues in your dispute are not decided by someone else (self-determination).
  3. What you say in mediation is confidential.
  4. The mediator can help you overcome obstacles to communication with the other person or party in your dispute.
  5. Mediation agreements are enforceable.
  6. A mediated agreement allows you and the other person or party to reach flexible solutions to your dispute.
  7. Mediation is not a trial nor an arbitration.
  8. Mediation can save time and costs.
  9. You know what you have agreed to in mediation instead of gambling with what the judge or jury may decide if you go to court.
  10. Mediation is an opportunity to gain a greater understanding about why the dispute arose.

Have you been compelled to attend to attend a mediation? If so, you may be best served by contacting an attorney and having representation at the mediation. What has your prior experience been with mediation? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page. We look forward to receiving your feedback.

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