Frequently Asked Questions

How does mediation differ from arbitration?
You have power over the outcome…

In arbitration, the arbitrator hears your case and makes a decision as to the outcome of your situation. It’s fair to say there is a winner and a loser. In mediation, the mediator listens to each party present their case and then facilitates communication between the two parties to help them arrive at their own decision regarding the outcome of their situation.

What is the role of the mediator?
A neutral, third party…

A mediator is a third-party neutral who helps two parties with a dispute arrive at a resolution they both agree is fair. A mediator does not give legal or financial advice but is trained to facilitate communication in such a way that two parties can begin to look at different options to solve their conflict and can work together to develop a mutually-agreed upon resolution.

What role do the parties play in the mediation process?
Communication moves the process forward…

It is in the best interests of the mediating parties to come to the mediation table in good faith with a strong desire to reach an agreement. Open, honest communication shared in a respectful environment is one important key to moving the mediation process forward. Being prepared is another. It is wise to bring all relevant papers and information with you including valid appraisals of real estate and personal property if appropriate. Keep in mind that the day of your mediation could be one of the most important days of your life, so the willingness to be forthright and focused can have a positive effect on your future and the future of your family.

Why is mediation becoming increasingly popular both for divorce cases and civil disputes?
Mediation works…

Simply put, mediation is quicker, less expensive and less emotionally stressful than litigation. It takes place in a private setting that offers strict confidentiality as opposed to appearing in the public venue of the courtroom. Mediation also puts the power where it belongs: in the hands of the parties in the dispute. In mediation they work with the mediator to create their own solutions to their problem and arrive at a resolution that they both feel comfortable with. In situations where relationships will be ongoing – parents with children to care for or business associates with future dealings – mediation is a practical and ideal way to work things out and move ahead amicably rather than with animosity. While not every dispute will be settled in mediation, it is apparent that it is a very wise first move toward settling conflicts in a way that can be highly beneficial to both parties.

Why should I consider resolving my dispute through mediation?
You can benefit in many ways…

The obvious answer is that you can benefit from mediation for the same reasons it is such a popular form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) across the country in both divorce and civil disputes. You can save money, time, and undue emotional stress. You also have more power over the outcome of your situation. It is the smart first step to conflict resolution, and if agreement is reached, you save steep legal fees and the on-going emotional burden of a court case that can take months or possibly years to settle.

What else should I know about mediation?
You are in the driver’s seat…

While some mediations are court-mandated, continuing mediation proceedings is voluntary. If you feel your mediation session is not working for you, you can terminate the process at any time. The power of mediation is that the parties are in the driver’s seat, creating their own solutions to their dispute. It gives them a valuable opportunity to be in charge of their own fate, as opposed to being at the mercy of a binding decision from an arbitrator or the court. This is one important reason why mediation is such a popular and successful form of conflict resolution.

Does a mediator have to be a lawyer?
Mediators are skilled facilitators…

No. Many mediators are lawyers, but many mediators come from other professions other than the practice of law. Whatever their professional background, a mediator should be well trained in the basics of mediation and in the communication skills necessary to make a mediation successful. Keep in mind that mediators are third-party neutrals who do not offer legal or financial advice. A party to a mediation is free to bring an attorney with them to the mediation. The mediator’s role is to facilitate communication, help clarify the issues at hand and identify options for resolution, and help the parties arrive at a mutually-agreed upon settlement.

What is co-mediation?
Two heads can be better than one…

In co-mediation two mediators work together to help parties resolve a conflict. It can be very advantageous to receive the benefit of the experience of two mediators. It is common in complex, multi-party civil disputes to have co-mediation, but it can also be helpful in divorce cases where, for a variety of reasons, the presence and expertise of more than one mediator can be valuable.

To learn more about mediation, please click here.

To schedule a mediation and/or a mediation coaching session for yourself or for a client, please click here.