In mediation, a neutral person (the mediator) helps the parties to reach a mutually satisfactory settlement of their dispute. Any settlement is recorded and may be filed as an enforceable contract. Mediation is an informal, voluntary, and confidential process. The process gives the parties the opportunity to discuss the issues raised in the disagreement, clear up misunderstandings, determine the underlying interests or concerns, and draft a settlement agreement. Any agreement reached in mediation is the agreement of both parties.
Reasons to Mediate
1. Mediation is Fair and Neutral.
Parties have an equal say in the process and they, not the mediator, decide the terms of the settlement. There is time for the parties to discuss and consider underlying issues. Mediation can be used to negotiate disagreements that are not appropriate for Court.
2. Mediation Saves Time and Money.
Mediation can be used as a means of resolving most disputes; monetary, personal, family or other. Legal representation is allowed in some cases but attorneys are not necessary and are often discouraged. This allows the parties to save money and to have a direct voice in the agreement. Mediation can usually be scheduled within a day (a session lasts approximately two hours) and the cost is based on a sliding scale which takes the income of the parties into account.
3. Mediation, Not Litigation.
Mediation can be used as an initial attempt at agreement before court action is sought or it may be used as the only avenue available in certain areas of disagreement. A settlement reached in mediation can eliminate the need for litigation and, thereby, the uncertainty of a judicial decision. The parties draft their own agreement which may be legally binding.
4. Mediation is Confidential.
All parties sign a confidentiality agreement which states that anything discussed in mediation is confidential.
5. Mediation Fosters Cooperation.
Mediation fosters a problem-solving approach, which invites cooperation. This is especially important where the preservation of a relationship is critical, which may occur between parents negotiating a parenting plan, neighbors, family members, co-workers, and landlord-tenant associations.
6. Mediation Improves Communication.
Mediation provides a safe, neutral, and mutually satisfactory resolution, which allows for preservation of the relationship.
7. Mediation Allows You to Design Your Own Solution.
A neutral third party assists the parties in reaching a voluntary, mutually beneficial resolution. Mediation can resolve all issues important to the parties, not just the original disagreement.
8. With Mediation, Everyone Wins.
An independent survey showed 96% of all respondents and 91% of all initiating parties who used mediation would use it again.
NMC does not provide legal advice