Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution which people use as a means to come to a consensus and avoid litigating a matter in court.
The process does not involve a judge, but rather a neutral person, a mediator, who works with the parties to come to an agreement that is negotiated by the parties. The mediation is non-binding and the mediator does not issue any final decisions. Rather, he/she facilitates discussions between the parties and gives recommendations so that the parties can settle on terms that they actively participated in reaching.
There is no testimony required at mediation, but it may involve an exchange of information so that each party has full and fair knowledge of the position of the other party.
Benefits of Mediation
There are many benefits to mediation:
- More Affordable. Mediation is far less expensive than proceeding through the court system. Rather than each party paying for his/her own lawyer, the parties would only have the cost of the mediator. Unlike the court process in which lawyers have to appear in court many times before a resolution is reached or a trial scheduled, the mediation process does not involve any court appearances.
- Quicker Resolution. Proceeding in court can be a long, frustrating process. Civil lawsuits often take more than two years to resolve and divorce matters one year. Mediators and the parties often resolve a matter in one mediation session. Everyone involved has flexibility to schedule the mediation sessions as quickly as their schedules permit.
- Privacy. Court proceedings are public. Most documents filed by a plaintiff or defendant are available for the public to see and, with rare exception, all court proceedings are held in a courtroom that is open to the public. Mediation, however, is held in a private office and few, if any, pleadings are filed. Statements made in the mediation do not become part of any public record allowing the parties to have a frank discussion regarding sensitive issues that will not be known to anyone but them.
We look at resolving disputes differently