Mediation is a voluntary process where the parties in conflict are able to resolve their disputes and mutually agree on a formal written agreement. The mediation process is conducted by a neutral and impartial mediator who usually has a background in law, counseling or social work.
A successful, or even partially successful, mediation can be very advantageous to the parties involved in a dispute or conflict. The mediation process can be very flexible and be structured to meet the specific needs of the parties. For instance, mediation can address specific issues within a conflict or be structured to address all issues necessary for a full resolution of a conflict. Once completed, a full or partial agreement can be submitted to a court for approval.
Conflicts or disputes can arise in almost any personal relationships. While most conflicts or disputes are resolved informally, some parties may have difficulty in the negotiation process. If parties have had a difficult time initiating the process or have reached an impasse, they may seek the assistance of a mediator. When parties choose mediation, they receive guidance in resolving their conflicts. The mediator’s role is to assist the parties in gaining a greater understanding of the issues and reaching a mutually agreeable resolution to their conflicts. The mediation process is far less stressful and adversarial then going to court. The parties involved in the mediation process have tensions eased, stress alleviated, and their energy is more productively channeled.
The mediation process usually saves time and is more convenient to the parties involved in the conflict or dispute. Meetings between the parties and the mediator can be arranged in late afternoons, evenings, or even on weekends, if necessary. The mediation process is less costly than several long drawn out court appearances. AND, MOST IMPORTANLY, THE PARTIES’ AFFAIRS REMAIN PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.
If the mediation process is successful, the parties to the conflict can avoid lengthy and expensive court costs and resolve their conflicts with an agreement that can be made legal. In family mediation, the parents and mediator can meet together for one to two or more hours each time they meet. In some instances, a matter can be resolved in one meeting, while in others multiple sessions may be necessary. The length of the mediation process depends on the conflicts between the parties, the ability of the parties to work cooperatively with each other, and the assisted direction of the mediator.