Guidance Through Mediation
Before beginning a mediation, it is important to understand exactly what mediation is and what a mediator can and cannot do for you. Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a combination of processes that parties may utilize to settle their differences outside of court. One such process is mediation and it is a consensual process where the parties utilize a mediator to help guide them towards an amicable solution.
Unlike other forms of ADR, mediation is a non-binding process and often the parties will choose a mediator to help them in their dispute. It is a less formal process than other forms of ADR.
Staying Out Of The Courtroom Can Benefit You
Mediation is useful because it changes the process from an adversarial one to a collaborative one. For mediation to be successful, each party must be able to communicate and work with the other.
There are also practical benefits to mediation. If the mediation is successful, the parties will be able to avoid going to court and the necessary expenses of litigating unresolved issues. Mediators typically charge an hourly rate and that rate can vary depending on the mediator’s experience, among other things.
Mediation also has the added benefit of privacy as disputes are handled behind closed doors and not in the courtroom where an unknown number of people will hear about your issues. The confidentiality of the process, including the mediator’s notes and work product, are protected by law. By keeping sensitive matters out of the courtroom, your issues and everything about the mediation will stay between you, your spouse, and the mediator.
One important thing to note about the mediation process is that every mediation is different, and every mediator brings his or her own experiences and styles to the process. Mediators can be divided into two categories, evaluative or facilitative.
Evaluative mediators are more active in the mediation process and maybe more proactive in proposing solutions. They take an active role in the process and may propose solutions as they see them.
On the other hand, facilitative mediators take more of a back-seat approach by guiding the parties into articulating and creating their own solutions to resolve an issue. The type of mediator you use is entirely up to you and your spouse.
When considering whether mediation is right for you, it is important to understand what mediation and a mediator will not do for you. Mediators are neutral persons to the process. They should not be an advocate for one party over the other; however, a mediator may sometimes point out the obvious, i.e., a party’s position is unrealistic or wildly unreasonable.