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Mediation Services

What is Mediation?

  • Mediation means a dispute resolution process in which a neutral third person, who has no power to impose a decision if all of the parties do not agree to settle the case, helps the parties reach an agreement by focusing on the key issues in a case, exchanging information between the parties and exploring options for settlement.

  • Mediation brings people in conflict together with this neutral person who assists them in reaching a voluntary agreement without going to court. The mediator helps them clarify the issues, consider options, and reach a workable settlement that fits their needs.

Why use Mediation?

  • It's Effective – More than 90% of mediations result in long-term resolutions with mutual satisfaction.
  • It's Quick – Mediations are scheduled within 2 to 4 weeks of the initial request for service.
  • It's Inexpensive – There is no fee for the first three hours of mediation services. If longer or subsequent mediations are needed and agreed upon by all participants, charge for additional time will be based on the mediator's hourly rate.
  • It's Convenient – Mediation sessions can be scheduled at a mutually convenient time and location to accommodate participants' schedules.
  • It's Empowering – Mediation allows people and organizations to develop mutual solutions, meeting their specific needs, interests and values as well as protecting their rights.
  • It's Confidential – Statements made during the mediation and documents prepared for the mediation are not admissible in any legal proceeding without the written consent of all parties.

What Are the Advantages to Mediation?

You get to decide: The responsibility and authority for coming to an agreement remain with the people who have the conflict. The dispute is viewed as a problem to be solved. The mediator doesn’t make the decisions, and you don’t need to “take your chances” in the courtroom. Many individuals prefer making their own choices when there are complex tradeoffs, rather than giving that power to a judge. You need to understand your legal rights so that you can make decisions that are in your own best interests.

The focus is on needs and interests: Mediation examines the underlying causes of the problem and looks at what solutions best suit your unique needs and satisfy your interests.

For a continuing relationship: Neighbors, divorcing parents, supervisors and their employees, business partners, and family members have to continue to deal with each other cooperatively. Going to court can divide people and increase hostility. Mediation looks to the future. It helps end the problem, not the relationship.

Mediation deals with feelings: Each person is encouraged to tell their own story in their own way. Acknowledging emotions promotes movement towards settlement. Discussing both legal and personal issues can help you develop a new understanding of yourself and the other person.

Higher satisfaction: Participants in mediation report higher satisfaction rates than people who go to court. Because of their active involvement, they have a higher commitment to upholding the settlement than people who have a judge decide for them. Mediations end in agreement 70 to 80% of the time and have high rates of compliance.

Informality: Mediation can be a less intimidating process than going to court. Since there are no strict rules of procedure, this flexibility allows the people involved to find the best path to agreement. Mediation can deal with multiple parties and a variety of issues at one time. In a family mediation involving inheritance, for example, two adult children and their mother, aunt and grandmother might be involved.  

Faster than going to court: Years may pass before a case comes to trial, while a mediated agreement may be obtained in a couple of hours or in sessions over a few weeks.

Lower cost: The court process is expensive, and costs can exceed benefits. It may be more important to apply that money to solving the problem, to repairing damages, or to paying someone back. Mediation services are available at low cost for some types of cases. If you can’t agree, other legal options are still possible. Even a partial settlement can lessen later litigation fees.

Privacy: Unlike most court cases, which are matters of public record, most mediations are confidential.