Mediation is a settlement process guided by a trained neutral, the mediator. Mediation empowers the parties to control the outcome of their dispute outside of court. The mediator facilitates constructive negotiation.
- Greater control for the parties. The parties determine the settlement terms, not a judge and not the mediator.
- Cost savings. Mediation can resolve disputes much quicker and cheaper than litigating in the court system.
- Speed. Mediation can resolve disputes in a much shorter period of time than the court system. This allows the parties to move forward in their lives without the strain of the dispute.
- Confidentiality. The court system is generally a very public process. Mediation is confidential, with a couple of very limited exceptions. With the personal nature of divorce and parenting disputes, keeping the matter private can be a valuable benefit for the parties, their children and their loved ones.
- Representation. Each party may retain his or her own attorney for legal advice.
- Structured. Unlike regular settlement negotiations, mediation brings structure that has been proven to increase the chance of the parties reaching a mutually agreed resolution.
- Preservation of relationship. Unlike litigation, mediation focuses on helping the parties understand and communicate with each other. Mediation is less adversarial and more informal. Mediation may be beneficial for parties, like parents, who need to continue interacting with each other after the dispute is resolved.
- Voluntary. Requires that the parties voluntarily disclose necessary information and make a good faith effort to reach agreement
- Each party should be free of coercion or intimidation
- Generally, not appropriate for relationships with domestic violence.
- If the parties are unable to reach a resolution outside of court, the mediator should not represent either party in the litigation.