The Mediation Process is often defined differently depending on the person. The Mediation Process I follow is described below. There are also some elements that can be customized to your individual situation as needed.
People often use the terms mediation and arbitration interchangeably, but there are distinct differences.
- In mediation the parties remain the decision makers and the mediator manages the process.
- In arbitration, the arbitrator listens to each party’s testimony, looks at any evidence presented and then renders a judgment — a process similar to a trial with a judge. The parties agree in advance whether arbitration will be binding or not.
Situations that bring people to mediation are usually emotional and difficult, and quick decisions rarely result in the best resolutions to complicated problems. Some general facts about mediation:
- It typically takes four to six sessions to reach a completed parenting and financial agreement. Other types of mediation services can vary in length depending on the issues and goals.
- Sessions are usually two hours in length, allowing ample time to think about, discuss, and process important information and others’ points-of-view.
- Of course, depending on the complexity and type of issue being mediated, fewer or more sessions may be warranted.
- In our sessions, you will be provided with an opportunity to speak to each other openly in a controlled but neutral environment.
- Ultimately you will create your own agreement; in mediation, the parties decide on the resolution, not the mediator.
- As your mediator, I have been trained to employ skills and strategies to help you move toward consensus. My role is to manage the process by helping all parties communicate with and hear each other as accurately as possible, help them understand better the specific areas of conflict, help them see places where they can build on agreement, and ensure that all issues needing to be addressed are included in the settlement of the dispute.
- At the conclusion of the mediation process, I will provide you with a Mediation Summary that recites the terms you have decided upon. It is recommended this Mediation Summary be reviewed by each party’s attorney before being drafted into a binding legal agreement, which must be signed by both parties.