Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that has been around for over four centuries. Mediation attempts to provide a solution between people who are unable to solve their conflicts through other means. Negotiating is sometimes successful, although many people are afraid of the process and do not use it often. Some people are afraid that if they allow mediation to take place, there is a chance that they will agree with the outcome and thus lose control of their life.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method that was developed in the US in the early part of the 20th century. It replaced arbitration, a system that used a written arbitration to resolve disputes, with mediation. Mediation is a process where neutral third-party individuals, the mediators, attempt to resolve disputes between two or more individuals without going to court. A mediator does no presenting arguments, but rather listens carefully to both sides and tries to find a reasonable resolution between them. Mediation can be done privately, in an open or closed session, or in private.
The parties are normally given written notice of the dispute and have an opportunity to submit potential solutions to the mediation panel. If no reasonable solutions are found, then either party may present a legal argument to the panel for settlement. Mediation usually concludes with the panel recommending a settlement agreement to the parties based on their considerations of the merit of the cases. If a case is resolved between parties within a specific time frame, then the mediation typically involves an agreement between the parties. However, if mediation cannot conclude after a reasonable amount of time has passed, then either party may opt to go to court to seek legal resolution.
When there are too many differences between the parties’ positions to settle, both parties are encouraged to hire their legal representation. Any attorney that represents either party can participate in the mediation process and will advise their client on legal options and any applicable resolutions. It is recommended that any disputes involving substantial financial amounts seek the help of an experienced divorce lawyer who can represent both parties and mediate the dispute so that a fair and just resolution can be reached.
It is very common for parties involved in a dispute to hire one another’s’ attorney to avoid having to go to court over their disagreements. In instances where a dispute between business interests requires speedy action, both attorneys should agree to mediation and try to reach a quick settlement. This allows the parties to move forward with their personal and business interests undisturbed. There are many benefits to using this approach.
One benefit is that mediators can take an unbiased look at all disputes. Because of their impartiality, mediators can listen carefully to both sides of the story and develop a thorough understanding of all relevant issues. The mediator also has the advantage of understanding the legal process well, having previously successfully mediation practices, and will use this knowledge and experience when helping the parties reach a satisfactory resolution. By taking an objective view, the mediator can offer a truly objective solution to any dispute. Because all disputes are different, it is important to understand how mediation rules are established, and the roles of the attorney and mediator in these circumstances.
Another benefit to using mediation is that all information provided during mediation stays confidential. Mediation involves both parties voluntarily providing each other with personal information. By abiding by the confidentiality rules of mediation, both parties are protected from unwarranted criticism or attacks and can make informed decisions about resolving the dispute.
There are some recommended clauses that are often used in many mediation agreements, especially with more complex cases. These recommended clauses allow both parties involved in the dispute to submit questionnaires, answer questions, and provide additional information without revealing the identity of the parties involved. This allows both sides to have an opportunity to present their case and receive feedback from another party. Without the veil of secrecy that legal documents and depositions provide, this information sharing system allows everyone involved to benefit from the process without compromising the integrity of the legal system.