Frequently Asked Questions About Mediation
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process that helps people communicate more effectively, so they can try to resolve issues that are causing conflict. The parties to a mediation are assisted by a neutral 3rd party called a “mediator” who is trained to help the parties talk about their issues, needs, interests and concerns. Mediation is a flexible process that provides an opportunity for people to be heard, to clearly express their concerns, and often helps parties to become better problem solvers. The process can be tailored to the needs of a specific situation.
What does a mediator do?
The mediator establishes ground rules for discussion and helps the parties to share and articulate information, ideas, feelings and perceptions. Mediators will ask questions, help the parties focus on moving forward, and assist the parties in identifying, evaluating, and choosing options for resolving the dispute. Mediators do not assign blame, take sides, or judge who is right or wrong. They do not provide counseling or legal advice, or make decisions for the parties. They may, however, provide advice and coaching on communication styles.
The most accepted ethical standards for mediation practice are the 2005 Model Standards of Conduct for Mediators, adopted by the American Bar Association, Association for Conflict Resolution, American Arbitration Association, and by the Association of Missouri Mediators. Click this link to view the Model Standards.
How do I know if mediation is the right process for me?
Well, it’s a process that allows you to have more control over the outcome of your dispute. It also allows parties to work in a private, confidential setting, and often proves to be faster and less expensive than other available methods of resolving a dispute. The mediation process encourages parties to work on the problem, and that can help preserve relationships that are under stress as a result of the dispute. Many different surveys have shown that overall party satisfaction with the mediation process is high, especially compared to litigation.
If I mediate, what happens if the other party and I don’t agree on something?
Mediators are specially trained to help parties avoid reaching an impasse. But if you do happen to get stuck on an issue, the mediator can help the parties to develop multiple options, and to analyze the risks. That can often help parties to find a mutually-agreeable option.
What if I don’t want to settle?
Mediation is a voluntary process, so no one is ever forced to settle. Mediation sessions can also be structured to allow parties to check with their attorneys or other advisors before agreeing to a settlement. The decision to settle will be left up to the parties. If parties aren’t able to come to an agreement, the mediation will conclude and the parties are free to move on to another process. But in most cases, parties find that even if they weren’t able to reach a full agreement in mediation, they have still benefitted by participating in the process. Mediation may have helped them better understand the dispute and its causes; or served to reduce the number of issues in dispute; or helped the parties learn new skills for working through the remaining issues on their own.
How much will it cost to mediate?
The cost of mediation varies, depending on the nature and scope of the dispute, and the amount of time it takes to come to an agreement. Because mediation is a process that helps parties to manage conflict, it can serve to reduce the time, energy and expense of continued conflict. Community-based mediation may be free or offered on a sliding scale. There are also government funded programs like M.A.R.C.H., and programs offered through the courts. Hourly rates for private mediators vary, but are usually offered at reasonable rates. You can find our list of AMM mediators on our web site. Many of the courts post a list of mediators on their website as well.
The articles linked below provide information to answer many of the most common questions about mediation, including the following:
- What is mediation?
- How should I choose a mediator?
- When and where is mediation useful?
- How can mediation be used most effectively?
If you do not find the information you are seeking in the resources below, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- How Does The Mediation Process Work?
- Why Mediation Works
- Litigate Or Mediate?: Mediation As An Alternative To Lawsuits
- What Does A Mediator Do?
- The “What” of Mediation: When Is Mediation the Right Process Choice?
- Mediator Neutrality: How is it possible?
- Eleven Questions Most Commonly Asked About Mediation
- Why Mediation?
Selecting a Mediator
- Choosing A Divorce Mediator
- Choosing The Right Mediator: A Guide To Effective Mediation Styles
- Choosing the "Expert" Mediator
- Advocacy Skills: Tips for Selecting a Good Mediator
Where Can Mediation Be Useful?
- Resolving Disputes Through Employment Mediation
- How Mediation Can Help Same Gender Relationships
- Eldercare Mediation: A New Way To Make Decisions Regarding Aging Parents
- Tipping Points - Reasons Why Mediation Works in Complex Family Disputes
- Congregational Conflict Resolution And The Use Of Scriptures
- ADR in Healthcare: The Last Big ADR Frontier?
- Mediation in Sexual Harassment Cases
Using Mediation Effectively
- Preparing For Your Mediation
- Learning To Use The Mediation Process - A Guide For Lawyers
- Focusing On Interests Rather Than Positions -- Conflict Resolution Key
- Tips for Dealing with Emotion in Mediation
- Effective Alternatives Analysis In Mediation: “BATNA/WATNA” Analysis Demystified
- Managing an Imbalance of Power
- Dealing With A Competitive Approach In Mediation