Benefits of Mediation
Mediation helps people craft their own solutions to conflict. Agreements reached through mediation are commonly more durable, because they are designed by the parties for mutual benefit.
Mediation is especially valuable in situations where the parties involved will have ongoing contact in the years to come. It also allows issues to be resolved in a collaborative manner with less of a chance of residual acrimony. We have seen how this paves the way for a future relationship that allows for mutual respect and dignity.
People generally choose one of three ways to resolve conflicts: litigation, arbitration, or mediation. Litigation is by far the most expensive and puts the fate of a dispute in the hands of third parties: lawyers and judges. Similarly, arbitration relegates outcome to a third party: the arbitrator. Litigation and arbitration often result in a situation where one party wins and one party loses. In mediation, both parties needs are considered. Mediation allows the couple to control the outcome which is why mediated agreements are more durable and satisfactory.
How Mediation Works
Mediation is a process through which people in conflict come together under the guidance of the mediator to openly and honestly discuss their issues so that a solution can be reached. As mediators, we facilitate this process by helping the parties identify and talk about their issues. Through these exchanges, each side begins to understand the other’s points of view. Our clients are often surprised by how many ways there are to solve disputes successfully.
Mediators are impartial. We do not offer advice. Mediation is not about what we think the parties should do. Rather, it is about what the couple feels works best for them. Our job is guide the parties toward a mutually satisfying resolution.
The mediation process is completely confidential. All notes are destroyed after the session(s). Additionally, mediation is considered privileged communication and is not admissible in court. Mediators cannot be forced to testify in court cases or depositions.
Sometimes during mediation, one or both of the parties may ask to talk to us privately. We may also ask the same of the parties. The details of these private conversations will not be shared unless the party explicitly asks us to share them.
Although most mediations are conducted in person, it is not unusual for parties to prefer that the entire mediation process take place in caucus. In these situations, we shuttle between clients until their dispute is resolved successfully.
Once parties reach an agreement, we will summarize the terms in a written a memorandum to be signed by all those involved.
Is a mediation agreement legally binding?
Mediation Agreements are not legally binding in and of themselves. However, if a case should end up in court after a mediation agreement has been reached, the agreement can be presented to a judge. Judges take mediation agreements very seriously. Breaking a mediation agreement can have serious consequences in court depending on the circumstances. But certain types of Mediation Agreements can be turned into legal contracts by an attorney and we can provide a neutral attorney for this process if the parties wish. Attorney fees are separate from the mediation fees.
How long do mediation sessions last?
The length and number of sessions needed for a successful mediation depend on the type and complexity of the dispute. Mediation sessions generally last two hours with the exception of Family Mediations which usually last a full day.
Who can attend a mediation session?
Anyone can attend a mediation session, provided that all parties to the mediation agree. Sometimes, people want attorneys, friends and family members to be present. However, only the parties themselves are allowed to participate; other attendees are merely observers.