Mediation is a process where a neutral third party (a mediator) facilitates a conversation between two or more people to help them try to resolve a dispute. Mediators are unbiased and do not make decisions for the parties. They are trained to establish and maintain a safe, confidential, communicative environment, and to help the participants reach their own agreement. When the parties reach an agreement by working together, there is a greater chance they can create a long-term agreement.
Mediation encourages parties to let go of their positions (generally the final outcome a party wants to achieve). The mediation process assists parties to uncover their interests (the needs, desires, concerns, and fears important to each side). When the parties discover and gain an understanding of each other’s interests, they can then work together to find a mutually beneficial solution to their dispute.
Mediation can save time, stress and money compared to the expense of going through the court process all the way to trial.
Mediation can take place face to face, in separate rooms, or even online or by phone.
Situations Where Mediation May Be Appropriate
Mediation can be a good first option when parties have a relationship they want to preserve. It can be useful when family members, neighbors, or business partners have a dispute. Mediation is also effective when emotions get in the way of resolution. An effective mediator can hear the parties out and help them communicate with each other in an effective and nondestructive manner.
Situations Where Mediation May Not Be Appropriate
Mediation may not be effective if one of the parties is unwilling to cooperate or compromise. Mediation also may not be effective if one of the parties has a significant advantage in power over the other.
Kevin Kelly holds Certificates in Conflict Management and Mediation and is a nationally accredited mediator. He has mediated many disputes involving real estate and condominiums, contracts and community disputes.