What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process whereby a neutral person (a mediator) facilitates a discussion between two people who have a dispute. The purpose of mediation is to help the parties reach an agreement that both sides can live with. Mediation can take place in a variety of contexts, from family disputes to conflicts between co-workers. The mediation can be either voluntary or court-ordered. The goal of the mediation is to prevent a lawsuit and to help parties mend their relationships in the future.
A good mediator will be able to see the issues in a dispute from each party’s point of view. The mediator will ask open-ended questions and frequently repeat back the key ideas of each party to ensure clarity. The mediator will help each party to express their feelings without getting angry or judging the other side.
The mediator will assist the parties to come up with creative solutions to the conflict. They will help the parties look at the problem from different points of view, consider alternative options, and brainstorm. The mediator will also keep track of the issues, suggest timelines for action, and help the parties write up their final agreement.
Mediators are trained in how to listen and communicate effectively. They are familiar with a range of different dispute resolution techniques and can use their experience to help the parties resolve their dispute.
Most courts require parties to attend mediation before they can proceed to trial. This is to make sure that the parties are aware of the risks associated with a trial and have a good understanding of their case. Mediation is often much less expensive than a trial and it can help to preserve the relationship between the parties in the future.
There are a variety of ways to become a mediator, and there are no national standards for qualifications. However, many states have codes of conduct for mediators.
The mediator may start the session by introducing themselves and explaining their role in the mediation process. If the mediation is court-ordered, the mediator will usually explain what procedures must be followed. They will also confirm the case data if it is submitted in advance.
After the introduction, the mediator will give the parties an opportunity to state their concerns in private sessions known as caucuses. The mediator will shuttle back and forth between the parties to allow them to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of their positions and negotiate. The mediation typically ends when a settlement is reached or the time allotted for the mediation expires.
During the mediation, the mediator will encourage both sides to take control of their situation and move toward a mutually acceptable solution that is in their best interest. The mediator will also help them to focus on the underlying problems and emotions that may be driving their actions. The mediator will also help the parties to identify the potential consequences of their actions and provide a realistic assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of each position.