Mediation is a process whereby a neutral, impartial third party, known as a mediator, facilitates communication between negotiating parties, which may enable the parties to reach a settlement. Mediators do not make decisions for you nor do they side with one spouse or the other. The purpose of mediation is to avoid the emotional and financial scars often caused by litigation and to provide an arena where the parties can evaluate their options and come to their own agreement.
The Process of Mediation
The parties involved make a good faith commitment to settle the issues. If the mediation is court ordered, then the parties must be informed that they must comply or there will be sanctions. Both parties sign an agreement to mediate. They must be present during mediation sessions. The mediator states the ground rules, describes the process, answers questions, generates options and gives information, not advice. Lawyers may or may not be present depending on the nature of the dispute and the desires of the parties and the mediator.
The Mediation Process is Private and Confidential
The contents of the mediation will not be disclosed in the court should the mediation process fail. In the agreement to mediate, the parties agree to not subpoena the mediator. Facts are disclosed to the other party, attorneys and professionals only with permission.
Does Mediation Always Work?
Mediation does not always result in a solution to the problem. However, statistics indicate that mediation has a high success rate and the agreements mediated have less chance of going to court at a later date. Mediated agreements also have a greater chance of compliance by the parties. There are some instances, such as cases where there has been physical or emotional abuse which cannot be set aside, where mediation might not be appropriate.