• What is Mediation? How Does it Work?

    Mediation is another form of alternative dispute resolution. The mediator assists in the resolution of disputes by facilitating negotiations between the parties. This is what makes mediation different from arbitration. The mediator does not make a decision, resulting in a “winner” and “loser.” Instead, the mediator helps the disputing parties reach an agreement among them. The mediator aids the process by offering ideas for discussion based off of the negotiable interests and needs of the parties in dispute. Based on the arguments presented by the parties involved, the mediator will then draft an agreement that is satisfactory for all involved. The agreement is not binding, however. Parties do retain the right to reject the proposed agreement and can seek another agreement or an alternate route to dispute resolution.

    Those who are chosen to be mediators are typically neutral and impartial. Mediators can be found in community mediation centers or within private mediation centers. Depending on the nature of the dispute and the complexity, the parties involved can consider which mediator they may need (someone knowledgeable in a specific area or someone who may be better handling routine disputes.) A good mediator will be one who is trained in conflict resolution and is able to cope with the difficulties that some situations bring.

    Scheduling mediation and subsequently going to mediation, often, can be a quick process. Disputes may only need to wait several months before actually going to mediation. For a typical mediation case, the dispute may be resolved within a day or two. Some cases, of course, may involve a greater amount of mediation sessions depending on the issues involved. For example, mediated disputes between major businesses and corporations can last several days or several weeks, especially if there are large amounts of money or numerous amounts of parties involved in the dispute.

    Nearly all civil disputes can be resolved through mediation. The cases involved can be based off contracts between individuals or legal entities, leases, especially those involving landlords and tenants, and divorces to name a few. These issues may all be resolved best by mediation because the parties involved typically want to be able to reach a mutual agreement and maintain a good relationship. Disputes between individuals who may cross paths often may also benefit from mediation. Mediation is set up to allow the individuals to sort through the disputes they have with one another and work out an agreement that can be beneficial to both parties. Relieving tension with an agreement can have better long term effects than having the parties go through litigation.

    Choosing mediation has several advantages to the parties involved. The first of which is timeliness. If parties choose to enter into the litigation process, what results can be an extended and rather lengthy dispute that may frustrate the parties involved. With mediation, the parties involved may be able to schedule mediation within a matter of weeks or as long as a couple of months. This allows for a quick resolution of the dispute between the parties. A quick resolution is beneficial because it eliminates the costs involved with lengthy trials and it also allows the parties to continue their operations (especially in the realm of business disputes.) Mediation also allows for parties who may need to maintain good standing with one another, the ability to reach compromise on an issue without feeling as if there is a winner and loser. A lawsuit on the other hand could result in polarizing parties and destroy their ability to work with one another. Mediation serves the purpose of maintaining a stable relationship between the parties. Another benefit of mediation is that it allows the parties involved to share ideas for themselves. During litigation, counsel will make arguments for the client. Conversely, during mediation counsel may still be involved, but the clients are afforded the opportunity to interject and bring up their own arguments and ideas. This makes mediation a more hands on process. The parties involved in a mediated dispute have made the decision to go to mediation mutually. This means that both parties have a willingness to compromise and understand the other side’s position. Because both parties express this willingness, the preservation of the relationship is once again benefited. Confidentiality is also a great benefit to mediation. Disputes that are placed within litigation are recorded and can become part of public record. By mediating a dispute, the parties can be assured that the information presented will be only known between the parties.
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