Mediation is a negotiation process to help people resolve their disputes. The mediator is a unbiased, who does not take sides, and does not make rulings like a judge, but instead works to help you find mutually agreeable solutions to the problems. Obviously, you and your spouse (or significant other) have not been able to find solutions on your own, and mediators are trained to help with this. Arbitration is a different process, where the arbitrator informally hears the case and then makes decisions for you.
Mediation may involve some or all of the following:
- A problem the parties cannot resolve on their own;
- Difficulty of the parties to effectively communicate with each other;
- A desire to find a positive solution to the dispute;
- A desire to avoid the risk and expense of a trial;
- A desire to move forward from the disputes with a working relationship (especially in case with children);
- A desire to have control over the outcome of the case;
- The involvement of one or two lawyers;
- One or more mediation sessions, as needed.
People often describe mediation as a structured negotiation process, where the mediator creates a structure to help the parties negotiate a resolution.
Mediation is effective for any type of case, even “high conflict cases” and cases where domestic violence is alleged.