Mediation is an informal, non-confrontational and confidential process where the disputing parties meet with a trained neutral third-party (mediator) to discuss their issues in an attempt to work out a mutually agreeable resolution. Parties present must have full settlement authority.
Your mediation may or may not be Court-ordered. If Court-ordered, there are most likely issues identified in your court documents which the Court expects will be discussed. But regardless of how you got here, the mediation is your process. Parties at the table have equal authority to offer, modify, and reject solutions until agreement is reached. Preparing yourself so that time spent is productive, effective, and stays on-track is important to everyone at the table.
In order to assist parties, Mediation Services offers the following recommendations to make the most of your mediation session:
If you are unsure of your legal rights, consult an attorney or an advocacy organization before the session. The mediator’s role is neutrality and to facilitate discussion. The mediator may not give legal advice.
Bring the documents needed to be addressed at the mediation. Inventory lists, lease agreements, or whatever is at issue.
Think about your concerns so you will be ready to express these at mediation.
There are probably many issues you have thought about in anticipation of the mediation session – write them down and bring them with you. Parties emotionally involved during the mediation session may forget to address an important concern. Clearly identifying issues beforehand not only keeps the discussion focused, it ensures a more thorough settlement agreement when one is reached.
In addition to writing down the issues, think about various solutions that you are willing to present and discuss.
Your mediation session may take time to complete – be prepared to commit at least 2 to 3 hours to the session, depending on the type of mediation.
Relax and feel free to speak openly. Mediation is an informal and confidential process designed to encourage clear communication and to thoroughly explore settlement options.