What is Mediation?
We’ve spent some time in the last few months writing about various forms of alternative dispute resolution.
Never heard of that term? That’s because you’ve likely heard of one of the many terms under ADR’s umbrella: Mediation.
Like all forms of alternative dispute resolution, matters in mediation are resolved without undergoing a messy trial. It’s a way to solve your dispute while saving cost and time. And, thanks to COVID-19, you can undergo mediation from the comfort of your own home, without having to drive to a courthouse or attorney’s office. Give us a call today to schedule your own virtual mediation, or just to ask some questions!
A mediator is not a judge.
Unlike a judge, or as we previously wrote about, an arbitration judge, a mediator does not choose a side in your dispute. Instead, the mediator helps both parties reach an agreement or settlement together. Once both sides come to their resolutions, a ruling is not necessary. If mediation is unsuccessful, you may hear about a dispute advancing to the court hearing process. But it’s worth giving mediation a shot to see if you can reach an agreement together.
Mediation is typically voluntary, though some state laws do require attempting mediation before undergoing the court process. In Wisconsin and Minnesota, couples seeking a divorce are required to undergo mediation before taking their dispute to court.
The mediator listens to each side and shows both sides fairness and patience. The mediator is there to help you negotiate with the other party, not represent one side over the other. While often an attorney, the mediator is unable to give legal advice to either party. The mediator in this instance is completely neutral to the matter at hand. Still, expertise in family law is helpful — choosing a mediator with this background can give extra insight and clarification to legal questions that will likely arise.
Unlike in a courtroom, there are no spectators during a mediation session. Everything said during mediation is confidential. Another advantage of mediation is the art of compromise. By coming to an agreement, each party feels they’ve reached a situation where they’ve each won some.
Besides, instead of being dragged through the courtroom, the matter is resolved in a way that parties have to come together. Therefore, they’re likely to walk away feeling a sense of peace. After the mediation concludes, each party can continue their working relationship or personal relationship. In the event of a divorce or the end of a relationship, you can at least walk away feeling at peace about the way the relationship ended, with as little bitterness as possible. This is especially helpful if you’re going through a divorce with someone you have children with.
We reached an agreement!
So, both parties have reached an agreement. Now what? Once you’ve reached your resolution, your mediator can help you with the next steps. How binding a mediation depends on where you are. We’re happy to discuss the specifics of all this with you and walk you through what you need to know when you give us a call!
Typically after going through all of the proper channels with your attorney, mediation agreements can be treated like binding contracts that can be enforced. If mediation was court-ordered, the agreement takes the place of a court judgment. Of course, your mediator is here to help make your agreement official. We’re here to help you complete all of the next steps.
Whether you think mediation may be the best way to settle your dispute or you still have some questions, we’re here to help. Give us a call today!