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What is mediation?

 

Mediation is a structured, informal conflict resolution process involving two or more parties.  The parties  meet with a mediator, the neutral third party, with the aim of reaching an agreement voluntarily. This process is in lieu of a formal litigation, to increase efficiency in the process and resolution of a conflict. There is no judge. The parties propose agreement terms and the voluntary final plan of action. 


What are the advantages of mediation?

 

Benefits to mediation include the following:
- Increase control of outcomes
- Mutually beneficial terms of agreement
- It is a voluntary process
- Decreased time to resolution
- Decreased expenses
_ Complete confidentiality 


When should I consider mediation?

 

Mediation may occur regarding civil matters.  It may address  business or family disputes.


When should I not consider mediation?

 

In matters that include personal abuse/violence, parties are encouraged to utilize specialized services for legal, therapeutic requirements and other services.  You may use the Resources page for a list of local agencies.


What will I experience in a mediation?

 

The process is structured and comprehensive, yet completely unique to the parties.  Parties will experience a conversation facilitated by the mediator, a neutral third party. This mediator guides the conversation to explore aspects of the dispute which leads to selection of mutually agreed upon actions listed in a voluntary agreement.  Though each mediation is uniquely specific to the parties, each session will consistently include the following components:

 

- If represented by an attorney, a Mediation Statement may be provided prior to the session
- Your mediator presents an opening  statement
- You will complete the Agreement to Mediate
- You will give an uninterrupted opening statement
- You will describe your concerns, interests and preferences 
- Your mediator will prepare a list  of your ideas that have been proposed
- You will discuss the aspects of the proposed ideas
- Your mediator prepares the negotiated Mediated Settlement Agreement reflecting the preferred solutions agreed upon by all parties. It is then signed and dated. Any resulting legal pleadings will be drafted by respective attorneys after the completion of the mediation session.

 

How do I best prepare for a mediation session?

 

Review the Preparation Checklist to determine the documents that are beneficial to obtaining an agreement among parties. Because mediation is an informal, non-legal process, documents/materials will not be established as evidence.


What is the outcome of a mediation?

 

The intended outcome of a mediation is a Mediated Settlement Agreement (MSA) that reflects the course of action agreed upon by disputing parties. There are times when parties are not able to come to an agreement. There are times when parties refuse a new course of action, to communicate or agree. This may prevent the intended outcome. Resolution amy come from additional mediation session or future litigation. In either case, gaining a deeper understanding of the other parties' desires and needs prove to be beneficial to future negoatiations.

 

How is mediation different from a court proceeding?

 

A court proceeding involves a judge making a decision based on presented evidence by the attorney of disputing parties. Mediation has no judge.  Attorneys are welcome to provide advice and clarity on legal issues, but is not required. The parties resolve the conflict using a structured conversation to develop mutually beneficial outcomes to which all parties agree.


Why should I select mediation?

 

When you desire to improve future esperiences rather than focusing on past disputes in any relationship, personal or professional, mediation is an option. There is no assignment of guilt or innocence.  Mediation works well for civil cases, including business and personal disputes,  divorces, co-parenting agreements that do not involve physical abuse. In addition, mediation will be conducted rates less than a legal court proceeding and in a shorter period of time. 


Is mediation legally binding?

 

The Mediates Settlement Agreement (MSA) is legally binding and enforceable in a civil court proceeding.

 

How do I obtain legal advice?

 

You may retain an attorney with whom you may confer for Legal advice.  Mediators do not provide this service.


What should I look for in a mediator?

Mediators are neutral parties that demonstrate the ability to remain non-biased and facilitate discussions leading to the Mediated Settlement Agreement. They do not have to have legal training. Because this is a complex process, it is important to select a mediator with confirmed mediation training, organization, problem solving and communication, skills.  

Mediators are responsible for leading the session. You should feel comfortable working closely with your selected mediator to work towards the defined outcomes.

 

Who should attend my mediation session?

 

All parties that are in dispute should attend the mediation session. The purpose of the session is for all parties to voluntary contribute to propsed solutions. Witnesses are permitted, but not required. Attorneys representing parties are encouraged to attend the scheduled session; however, parties have complete authority to cexecute a voluntary mediation agreement. Attorneys may advise respective clients and provide clarity to legal issues. Children should NOT attend a mediaton session.  Any party with children present will be required to reschedule the session.


How do I start my process?

You will want to select the best date for you and the other participants by visiting the Contacts page.  Complete the form and pay your session fee. You will receive a confirmation of your scheduled session once all parties have completed the form and submitting payment. Please take the time to make sure that you are able to attend the confirmed session. Note the Reschedule Policy and Cancellation Policy prior to confirming your session.

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