Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mediation
Q: What is mediation?
A: Mediation is a process in which the opposing parties select a neutral party called a mediator . That mediator assists and guides the parties in an attempt to reach a mutually agreeable settlement of their own
Q: Why do people choose mediation?
A: When most people are involved in a dispute, they want that dispute resolved and to “move on” with their life. However, today’s court systems have tremendously overburdened. As a result, to resolve a dispute in court has become very slow , very expensive and mostly, unsatisfying. In fact, the American Bar Association itself says “For most litigants, the costs of litigating greatly exceed the monetary value of the case”. As a result mediation has greatly risen in popularity as a way to quickly and efficiently resolve disputes between opposing parties.
Q: Does this mediator determine who is right and wrong?
A: No. The mediator does not make a judgement, does not determine who is right or wrong. The mediator aids the parties in their discussions in an attempt to help them reach their own settlement.
Q: Is the agreement reached after a mediation binding?
A: Yes. When the parties reach an agreement, that agreement is written, signed and binding. However, if the parties do not reach a mutual agreement the mediator does not have the authority to “bind’ the parties to any agreement.
Q: What if I say something in mediation, we don’t reach an agreement, and the opposing party tries to use what I said in court?
A: Everything in mediation is confidential. Mediation is classified as “settlement discussions” by the court and is therefore nothing said, presented or done in mediation is admissible in court.
Q: Do I need to have an attorney to represent me in mediation?
A: No. In most mediations, those disputes with claims less than $25,000, parties do not have attorneys to represent them. While attorneys are always welcome, this only increases the cost to the parties involved in mediation.
Q: How long does mediation take?
A: The length of time for Mediation can vary greatly . Sometimes, a more complicated dispute, might take multiple sessions and many days before the parties are able to reach a settlement, In most cases, a settlement is reached in a single session Taking between two and four hours.
Q: If I am not happy with the way the mediation process is proceeding, can I just quit?
A: Actually, Yes. In mediation, the parties are not required to complete the process. While we certainly hope that you do, mediation is based on the principle that both parties have a desire to resolve the conflict and will give their best efforts to do so. In most cases, the alternative to mediation Is a long, expensive and emotionally draining litigation process that people prefer to avoid .
Q: Who pays for the mediation?
A: In most cases, the cost of mediation is equally shared by all parties involved.