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Why should I consider mediation?

Mediation can help disputing parties reach resolution without the considerable expense and time required by litigation. Some cases can be successfully mediated in hours – versus the weeks or months of the traditional court system.

In a mediated environment, the participants maintain control over outcomes. Decisions aren’t “handed down” by an outside party. Rather, decisions are reached through honest, productive discussion and mutual consideration.

What are the different mediation styles?

An evaluative mediator is involved with the legal rights of the parties and the hard issues of the case. He or she evaluates the costs versus the benefits of following a legal course of action. The mediator maintains more control over the mediation process, and he or she may offer suggestions for revealing information critical to a successful resolution.

In facilitative mediation, the mediator asks questions and provides the framework for the mediation process. He or she does not provide opinions, give advice or make predictions as to potential court outcomes. The goal is to reach agreement using information and increased awareness and understanding.

Regardless of the style your mediator uses, in all instances the mediator remains neutral, the participating parties determine the resolution, and the process remains confidential.

When should I consider mediation?

If you are considering taking your ongoing dispute to court and if open communication among parties is no longer possible, mediation creates a fresh forum for productive discussion. When all participants agree on the solution, no one is labeled “loser.” Finding this mutually favorable outcome can save the relationships impacted by the conflict.

How do I select a mediator?

In addition to selecting an experienced, reputable individual with relevant expertise, look for a mediator whose philosophy and style matches you own. Ask what role he or she will play in the process. Ask potential mediators what strengths they bring to the negotiating table. Consider your candidates’ verbal and nonverbal communication skills, and their willingness to listen.

What can I do to prepare for mediation?

Before you begin the mediation process, it is essential all parties have a clear definition of their desired outcomes. Take time to determine what your party wants from the mediation experience. Determine beforehand how you will know when it is okay to settle. Next, communicate your requirements to your mediator.

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