What is Mediation?

Mediation is a well-established, cost-effective, fair, efficient, and confidential process for resolving disagreements. The Mediator, as an impartial third party, helps people in a dispute find a mutually acceptable resolution. The Mediator helps the parties discuss difficult issues and negotiate an agreement. Unlike court, in mediation, the decision-making authority rests with the parties themselves.

Why Mediate?

There are many benefits to Mediation vs. Litigation; some of these include:

  • Cost Effective - Mediation is much less expensive than litigation or other more  adversarial approaches to conflict resolution, and it’s legally binding.
  • Participants are Much More Satisfied - Mediation parties participate in the process not just their representative. The parties make all decisions together.
  • Reducing the Human Cost of Conflict - A quicker, less expensive solution that both parties agree to, versus  being imposed upon them, is always less stressful than the alternative.
  • Greater Compliance - The parties who come to a mutually acceptable solution are much more  likely to comply than when an edict is mandated from an outside,  disinterested party.
  • Timely / Expedited Negotiation - Rather than wait months for a court date, let alone a final solution,  Mediation provides a much shorter resolution time frame; usually just  weeks.
  • Privacy - Court proceedings are a matter of public record. Mediation is a private  and confidential process of which outcomes (agreements) are legally  binding.
  • More Flexible and Customized Solutions - There are no rules or protocols that necessarily need to be followed.  While the law should be addressed, the procedure to comply with applicable legal guidelines is up to the parties to mutually decide, not a judge or arbitrator.
  • Taking Control of the Process, More impact on Outcome - Parties who negotiate their own settlements have more control over the  outcome of their dispute. This gives parties an opportunity for  discussion, with a resolution by mutual agreement. Gains and losses are  more predictable in a mediated settlement than in a case that is  arbitrated or adjudicated (Court).
  • A Way of Preserving a More Amicable Relationship Despite the Conflict - Mediation’s future focus can help parties move forward in preserving or restoring a workable relationship.

How Does Mediation Work?

There are no fixed rules governing the process of mediation. Generally, however, there are some common elements to the process.

  • Opening / Introduction - First, the mediator will describe their role and the process. They will  discuss, Agreements to Mediate, and other documents for the mediation.
  • Gathering Information - Mediators will ask each of the parties to describe their view of the  dispute and what they may want out of any solution. The parties are  given a chance to vent emotions and express views in a safe environment. This is especially helpful during some civil disputes or family issues  as seen in divorce.
  • Identifying Issues - Mediators assist the parties in identifying the main issues in dispute.  Mediators will help the parties in understanding each other’s interests  and needs with respect to each issue.
  • Generating Solutions - Mediators will then encourage the parties to become problem solvers,  look objectively at the issues, identify and discuss possible solutions. At times, mediators may use a technique called “caucus”  in which they  meet with parties separately and in confidence. This can lead to fuller  clarification of the parties’ needs and development of options for a  solution.
  • Agreement - Once the parties have reached an agreement the mediator, or if  represented, the parties’ attorneys may record the terms of agreement.  When the mediator records the agreement, the parties are encouraged to  have an attorney review the agreement prior to signing. A signed Agreement can be as enforceable as a contract. If a case is pending in  court, the judge may enter the Agreement as a court order, thereby dismissing the case.

Who is Qualified to Mediate?

Finding a mediator is not always easy. Especially since some individuals that claim they are mediators unfortunately aren't really qualified as mediators. IMA takes this guesswork out of your search. IMA only lists mediators that have attained the required training to be recognized as a Certified Professional Mediator (CPM). Through IMA’s mediator database, you can search for a certified mediator by practice specialty, as well as geographic location. All mediators listed are members in good standing with IMA.

Find a Mediator



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