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What Is Mediation?
Mediation is a process under which an impartial person, the Mediator, facilitates communication between the parties to promote reconciliation, settlement or understanding among them. The Mediator may suggest ways of resolving the dispute, but may not impose his own judgment on the issues for that of the parties.
Mediation provides people the opportunity to design their own resolution to their dispute, giving the people involved more control over the outcome of mediation. Court can be costly, time consuming and often confrontational. Mediation is typically less expensive, provides an opportunity for relationship-building or preserving relationships and can be finalized in a timely manner.
What does a mediator do?
Mediators are trained in collaborative problem solving. Mediators are impartial; mediators do not take sides, focus blame or make any decisions regarding how the issues are to be resolved. Mediation is your process, not the mediator’s. Decisions are yours and your client’s to make, and mediation is the only forum in which you have complete control over decision making by or in behalf of your client.
Is mediation confidential?
The mediator maintains strict confidentiality in its mediation program. The mediator and the parties sign an agreement that they will keep everything that is revealed during the mediation confidential. Confidentiality allows the parties to conduct the mediation in an open and safe manner. People are more secure sharing information when it cannot be used for purposes other than the mediation.
Is a mediated agreement legally binding?
When an agreement in mediation is reached, a Memorandum of Understanding Reached in Mediation is prepared. This is not a legally binding document. It becomes legally binding once it is incorporated into a Separation Agreement, Court Order or any other document as advised by independent legal counsel, and fully executed. It is however a ‘good faith’ agreement in that each party is entering into the agreement with good faith that each party fully intends to follow through on the agreed-to actions.
What do I need to bring?
You may be asked to bring documentation depending on the issues being mediated. Most importantly bring a willingness to discuss the issues and listen to the perspective of the other person.