Mediators are persons who intercede in conflicts and negotiate an alternative to litigation. With the rising cost of litigation, mediation has become a popular way to resolve conflicts in the last decade.
Mediators participate in business, civil and divorce disputes. The details of these settlements can vary greatly but the overall mediation process is similar in all three endeavours.
Mediation is based upon both parties executing a binding agreement to avoid court by allowing an independent third party to resolve existing differences. Each side of the dispute must provide the mediator with a written summary of the core issues and a summary of where the negotiations stand to date.
Mediation saves time, money, effort and valuable resources. Many times mediation becomes necessary because the legal representatives of the parties are too vested in their positions, which become entrenched in the process. The independent third party can offer a fresh perspective on the negotiations.
Commencing the Process
Very often the mediation process begins with the mediator stating the current statement of facts and identifying the areas of disagreement. This gives each side the right to agree or disagree on the mediator’s takeaway of the situation.
After the initial meeting, a series of additional meetings are likely to follow. At these meetings, the mediator will try to expand the common ground. In this stage, the mediator will identify the aspects of the negotiation that seem unlikely to be resolved.
The mediator will constantly discuss the desired end result, which is the most equitable solution. This can take several weeks and can be intense. Inevitably, there is some give and take by both parties. All meetings usually take place in a neutral environment.
At the conclusion of the mediation process, a legally binding agreement is executed by both sides and details all terms to which the primary parties agree are stated. This process can take several weeks but is generally much quicker and much less expensive than litigation.
Mediation is not a remedy for certain cases where there are criminal charges. This would, of course, include wrongful death. However, for the majority of disputes that end up muddled in the legal system, mediation is an affordable process.
In most divorce mediations, where emotions can be high and strained, parties are usually asked to acknowledge and sign certain rules of conduct before entering mediation. This might include how the parties address each other and how the conduct themselves. Mediators often develop specialty areas of expertise.
What is Mediation? An Overview (Clark Howes)