What is Mediation? How does it Work?
Mediation is a voluntary and informal process used to resolve conflict between the participating parties. Attendance at mediation does not imply any admission of guilt or wrongdoing by either party. Mediation offers all participants an opportunity to improve their communications in order to better resolve the issues at hand. Mediation is an absolutely confidential process for all parties involved, regardless of whether or not any agreements are reached. Nothing discussed in mediation can be used against either party regardless of how their divorce proceeds.
Mediation usually begins with each party receiving an uninterrupted amount of time to explain what brought you to the table today. This should include the facts as you see them and how you feel.
After each party has had an opportunity to speak, we will formulate a list of interests and issues to create an agenda for the mediation session. Mediation session usually last from 2-4 hours and are paid for in full in advance.
Your mediator will help you faciliate ideas, options, and solutions for the issues that you are in agreement upon, and then assist you in setting forth a method of implementation, again, methods you are in agreemetn upon.
At the end of the mediation process, your mediator will present each of you with a mutually acceptable written agreement that both parties have signed. This signed document is one that can be taken to your attorney and implemented as part of your divorce decree, the court docuemtn that outlines and stipulates all matters germaine to the divorce.
There are several powerful reasons to choose mediation over litigation.
Cost Mediation is a far less costly endeavor for divorcing couples/parents than using attorneys. Mediation participants generally spend a fraction of what individuals using attorneys spend. While the mediation process tends to cost between $2,000.00-$5,000.00, attorneys can easily cost ten times this, if not more.
Control People using mediation retain control of what their their children's lives are going to look like post-divorce. Couples who are unable to craft agreements themselves end up having a Family Court judge make intimate life decisions for them and their children.
The Mediation Process
The mediation process has six basic stages.
1. Introductory Remarks
The mediator will wait until both parties are present and then make introductions. The mediator then gives an opening statement outlining the role of the participants. The mediator will review the mediation guidelines with the participants and invite the particpants to speak.
2. Statement of the Problem by Parties
Each side is given the opportunity to tell their story uninterrupted.
3. Information Gathering
The mediator will ask the parties open-ended questions to elicit information, repeat back key ideas to parties, and summarize often.
4. Problem Identification
During this part of the process, the mediator will help the parties facilitate agreement on which issues to settle, and in what order. Problem identificationoccurs at all stages of mediation as additional issues are identified.
5. Bargaining and Generating Options, Reaching Agreement
Developing options can be a creative process, including group processes, hypothetical and plausible scenarios.
6. Solutions and Settlements
Once the participants are committed to achieving a negotiated settlement, the mediator will propose a brainstorming session to explore potential solutions. This can lead to a final agreement, which diffuses the conflict and provides a new basis for future relations.