From a marital split to a partnership dispute, conflicts can occur any time. Many people may not know that mediation is a far better alternative dispute resolution process in most situations compared to litigation. To address some of the frequently asked questions on mediation, our knowledgeable mediators have compiled an FAQ list that should help anyone who wants to understand how mediation works and why it is a preferred dispute resolution process.
What are some of the Key Elements in Mediation?
- Voluntary: Mediation is 100% voluntary, which means any or all parties to the dispute can end the process at any point if they are dissatisfied with the proceedings.
- Collaborative: The goal of mediation is to resolve the dispute in a collaborative environment. The mediator facilitates the process to help the disputing parties to focus on problem-solving rather than indulge in a blame game.
- Informed: Informed consent of each party is vital to the spirit of any agreement reached through mediation. The parties are free to obtain expert advice and make a well-considered decision.
- Impartial: The mediator is a trusted neutral party, who will maintain a balanced approach. Experienced mediators focus on helping the parties work towards a resolution that serves as a win-win for all sides.
What are the Advantages of Mediation Over Litigation?
- Non-Adversarial: Litigation, by definition, is an adversarial process where the litigants take opposing positions, and fight it out to the bitter end. Mediation is the exact opposite – it is non-adversarial and works in a collaborative setting.
- Affordable: Mediation usually costs only a small fraction of what each party to the dispute might end up paying as litigation expenses. Resolutions are often achieved in just one or two meetings lasting a few hours each.
- Controllable: In mediation, the parties have great control over their decisions related to all aspects of the dispute. Litigation, on the other hand, places the parties at the mercy of the judge, whose decision is binding.
- Confidential: Unlike litigation, where all or most issues related to the dispute become a matter of public record, mediation is largely a private and confidential process.
What is the Role of the Mediator?
- Educator: The mediator guides and educates the parties about the mediation process, and helps them understand their available options.
- Facilitator: The mediator facilitates fair communication to ensure each party gets heard, and enables the parties to explore common ground while staying focused on mutually beneficial solutions rather than finger-pointing.
- Angel of Realities: The mediator helps ensure that the discussions take place in a cooperative environment, requests documentation where facts or claims need to be backed by evidence, and helps remove emotions from the equation by encouraging the parties to stay realistic, practical and solution-oriented.
Can Mediation be Used Even After the Litigation Process is Initiated?
Yes, mediation can be used at any stage of the dispute, including in the midst of the litigation process.
Are there any Disputes Where Mediation is Unsuitable?
In situations where one or more parties have an established history of violence, abuse, or another criminal conduct, or where fraud is suspected, mediation may not be appropriate in some of these situations.
Is the Mediation Agreement Legally Binding?
Once the parties to the dispute arrive at an agreement during mediation, it can be submitted to the court for its approval. Once the court approves the mediation agreement, it will be legally binding on all signatories.
In general, mediation agreements have a high rate of compliance because the parties to the dispute voluntarily enter into the agreement, are more satisfied with the terms of the agreement because they are involved in the process, and tend to have little or no conflict or stress remaining with the other party.
Consult with Dedicated Mediators for Satisfactory Dispute Resolution
At Advanced Mediation Solutions, we have the skills, experience and resources to help all parties to the dispute explore the best possibilities in a difficult situation, and achieve mutually acceptable or win-win outcomes. To request your complimentary consultation with us, call us at 856-669-7172 or contact us online.