Mediation is an excellent way to work through disputes without having to go to a judge for help. There are many benefits to mediation, but the primary benefit is that it helps you and the other party come to an agreement that you are both satisfied with and can agree on.
Mediation is not just for divorce cases, though this is when the idea of mediation is brought up most. Mediation can also be used for:
- Settling disputes over wills or estate assets
- Settling real-estate disputes
- Settling disputes between neighbors
…and in many other situations.
How does mediation work?
Mediation is a simple process. Both parties are able to have their attorneys attend with them or to come alone. They meet with a mediator, who is a person who has no interests regarding the outcome of the sessions. The mediator, as a third party, is there to guide the conversation and to help find a resolution. They are not there to give you a solution or to encourage a specific outcome.
Both parties join the mediator in a room to speak about the problem. For example, if the parties are arguing about a land boundary between their properties, the mediator will have each of them speak separately and listen to the other. Then, they will ask questions or guide the conversation in a way that allows both sides to begin negotiating. If an argument erupts or the dispute seems to be getting out of hand, the mediator can step in to get the conversation back on track.
Is mediation binding?
No. Mediation is not a binding process, which means that there is a small risk that you could go through mediation and come up with a solution that is later rejected by the other party involved in the case. However, it is much more likely that you will both be satisfied with the outcome of the mediation session or sessions and be able to agree to maintain the agreement. If you are both happy with an agreement that you come up with, your attorneys can draw up the paperwork and have it submitted to the court, so that it is legally binding.
Mediation is not for everyone, and it may not work if you and the other party cannot be in a room together or cannot focus on a respectful conversation. However, if you are able to consider negotiating respectfully with guidance, it can be a great choice.