WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a voluntary process that facilitates negotiations to assist parties in reaching a resolution that both sides can accept. It is a way of solving problems which allows the participants in a dispute to talk with each other (even if they could not do so before), and resolve conflict without having to always resort to the courts for the solution. It is a settlement process that allows and encourages the parties to control what happens to their finances, their parenting plans, their families, and their businesses.
HOW DOES MEDIATION WORK?
The parties and a professional mediator meet in an informal setting where both parties will have the opportunity to be heard as they share their individual needs, interests, goals, and objectives. The mediator will help identify and clarify issues, help create options for resolving them, and discard options that don’t meet the needs of the parties. After being fully informed (and all documentation provided), you will engage in negotiations and joint problem solving to craft the best settlement for you and your family.
While the mediator facilitates the process, the final decisions belong to the parties. This “team work” approach is the beginning of helping the parties gain skills in joint problem solving for future conflict. This is especially beneficial in co-parenting relationships.
The majority of our mediation sessions are co-mediated, which means there are two mediators at each session. We do this because each mediator brings a unique set of expertise and in the event of one mediator is unable to make a session there is a mediator already familiar with you and your case.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
An avenue to resolve conflicts
Comprehensive and customized agreements
Potentially lower cost than litigation
Potentially less time than litigation
Parties retain control over their lives (and their children’s)
Confidentiality (keeping private problems from public disclosure)
Promotes communication and cooperation
The goal is not to focus on the “sins” of one party and use it against them; but rather to help parties move toward peace and restoration
WHO SHOULD USE MEDIATION?
Mediation offers significant advantages to any party who has the courage to dialogue with each other directly regarding their conflict and mutual interests. Even if communications between the parties have not been good, a skilled mediator can help you express your concerns and needs.
You will take on much of the responsibility for deciding how “fair” will be defined for your particular agreement. The party who mediates has the opportunity to reach creative and individualized solutions that fit their unique situation. But to do so, they must create and then live by their own working definitions of “fairness.”
To a large extent, “fairness” is in the eye of the beholder. Each beholder may have difficulty seeing the reality through the lenses of unspoken pre-conceptions and assumptions. The mediator will help with clarity and options and guide you through the work to be done.
At the end of the agreement, mediation will have allowed you-the parties- to make clear commitments to one another and decide the course of action going forward.
DO THE PARTIES NEED AN ATTORNEY?
Mediation is NOT a substitute for legal advice. Attorneys can help their clients become educated about the laws of their state. The parties then can enter mediation informed of their legal rights as they negotiate their settlement. Attorneys may be needed to review the Final Agreement and amend it to legal language. Attorneys can be involved and may attend the mediation.
WHAT IF THE PROBLEM CANNOT BE RESOLVED IN MEDIATION?
Mediation may be successful in some areas and not in others and the parties may choose to go to arbitration or court as a last resort. However, a partial agreement is still very beneficial because it will reduce the number of issues left to be resolved.
Disclaimer: Mediation is NOT a substitute for legal advice. TC Mediators are not Attorneys, do not offer any legal advice, and do not act in the capacity of legal counsel. Attorneys can help their clients become educated about the laws of their state. Attorneys may be included in pieces of the mediation process (e.g., review of the Final Agreement and reduce it to legal language).