WHAT IS MEDIATION
Mediation is a confidential process in which a neutral and impartial third party—the mediator—facilitates the resolution of a dispute by promoting the participants’ voluntary agreement. A family mediator assists communication, encourages understanding, and focuses the participants on their individual and common interests, as well as works with the participants to explore options, make decisions, and reach their own agreements.
Mediation is not a substitute for the need to obtain independent legal advice, counseling, or therapy, nor is it appropriate for all families. However, experience has shown that family mediation is a valuable option for many families because it can:
◆ Increase the self-determination of participants
◆ Improve the participants’ ability to communicate
◆ Promote the best interests of children
◆ Reduce the economic and emotional costs associated with the resolution of disputes
Mediation is Confidential
Mediation offers a safe, nonjudgmental environment for the participants to explore options and modify their positions without losing face. Mediation is a unique process where parties come together in a private and neutral location with an impartial third-party to talk through their conflict and explore resolutions that address the needs and interests of both parties and their children. These conversations are confidential and will not be disclosed to anyone unless it is expressly requested and agreed by both parties, or is required by law.
Neutral and Impartial Third-Party
A mediator works on behalf of all parties, and does not favor any one participant. A mediator does not have any stake or personal interest in the outcome of the mediation. It is not a mediator’s role to resolve your conflict; rather, the mediator serves as a guide for participants to uncover their own solutions.
Mediation is Voluntary
While courts can mandate that parties attend mediation, the process of mediation is voluntary in that parties are not required to come to an agreement. Of course, reaching an agreement is more likely if participants are willing and committed to engaging in the process, and are genuinely interested in reaching a resolution.
BENEFITS OF MEDIATION
Separation, divorce, and child custody issues can create a context for events that add stress to a coparenting relationship. Litigants do not make good coparents because the court process reinforces motivations or outcomes that are antithetical to functional and healthy coparenting. The longer coparents engage in an adversarial arena, the more intractable their conflict becomes.
Mediation offers an alternative dispute resolution process that manages and ideally reduces the level of conflict, facilitates child-focused solutions, and encourages cooperative decision-making. Other benefits of mediation include:
Mediation can be held and completed in a timely manner; bringing resolution quickly. This can be critical to intervening in the escalation of conflict and preventing unnecessary delays in finding mutually agreeable resolutions.
Mediation is significantly less expensive than litigation.
High Rate of Satisfaction & Compliance
Parties who reach their own agreement in mediation are more satisfied and more likely to comply with its terms than those whose resolution has been imposed by a third party decision-maker.
Preserve Ongoing Relationships
Many disputes occur in the context of relationships that will continue for many years. A mediated agreement that addresses all parties’ needs and interests preserves a working relationship in ways that would not be possible in a win/lose decision-making context.
People who negotiate their own settlements often feel a rewarding sense of empowerment.
Cooperation Begets Further Cooperation
If a dispute pops up again, the parties are more likely to utilize a cooperative method of problem-solving to resolve their differences than to pursue an adversarial approach.
Brooke holds a Juris Doctor degree, is a Certified Professional Mediator, and is a recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
She specializes in family and child custody mediation and is committed to providing every client with a safe and productive mediation experience.