Many people don’t realize what mediation is, or how it may benefit them.
Mediation is a voluntary conflict resolution process that is facilitated by a neutral third party, and, if successful, concludes with a settlement or agreement between the parties. Even this explanation can be confusing, or leave people wondering how mediation can help in a legal setting. Given the courts’ current preference for mediation, it’s important that people adequately understand the mediation process, what situations mediation can help facilitate, and the benefits of mediation.
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There is no “one size fits all” for what your mediation process will look like. However, there are some things you should expect when entering this process.
Most mediations begin with the involved parties submitting their case in writing. Often, the parties will then meet with the mediator to discuss how the mediation process works and the mediator’s role during the process. During this initial session, it is common for the mediator to explain the ground rules and agenda for the process.
After the initial session, the involved parties often give their opening statements or highlight issues in their written briefs. In some cases, the rest of this process is carried out with both parties present. In others, the mediator separates the involved parties and goes back and forth between the sides. Once the mediator facilitates an agreement that everyone can agree on, they draft a written document that is legally binding and can be enforced in court.