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In the broadest sense, mediation involves a neutral third party helping disputing parties come up with mutually acceptable solutions. It is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), but is more formal than traditional negotiation or arbitration. It is often a required step in a lawsuit or other legal proceeding. However, people can also participate in voluntary mediations for a variety of reasons, including business transactions, real estate, personal injury, construction, employment issues, divorce and custody disputes, among other things.

Unlike a courtroom trial, mediation is non-binding until and unless the participants agree to an outcome. Most mediations involve several rounds of discussions, facilitated by the mediator, to develop a solution that satisfies both sides. The goal is to avoid the expense, uncertainty, and disruption of litigation. Mediation also allows for a more private and confidential process than going to court.While some disputes are better suited to court, mediation can be beneficial for many types of cases. Even informal disputes between neighbors, co-workers, supervisors and employees, or family members can benefit from the collaborative approach of mediation. In addition to addressing the legal issues, mediation can help people deal with emotions and feelings that can sometimes stand in the way of reaching a settlement. In preparation for mediation, individuals should consider their willingness to move away from positions based on the factual details of their case to a more holistic view of their own needs and interests. It is important for mediators to be trained in this more comprehensive perspective.

 what is mediation


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