What is Mediation?
Mediation is an informal, yet structured negotiation with an independent, neutral third-party (the mediator) facilitating the process. It can be an informal meeting or a scheduled conference, depending on the desires of the parties involved.
How Does Mediation Assist in the Resolution of Conflict?
In a mediation, each participant is given the opportunity to explain their position and perspectives as they relate to the underlying conflict. Each person must listen to and reflect upon the other’s viewpoint, and in many cases, engage in certain techniques which confirm that they understood. The ultimate goal is to have each participant empathize with the other’s perspective, even if only slightly. Empathy fosters trust, enlightens all the participants and is an essential element in approaching resolution.
Is Mediation Affordable?
Mediation is very affordable! Most mediators charge between $100 and $300 per hour, divided equally between the parties. Retired judges often charge more than $300 per hour. Compared to the extraordinarily high cost of litigation, coupled with its accompanying one to two years of emotional and personal involvement and ultimate uncertainty, mediation is a comparative bargain.
Is Mediation Effective?
Mediation is very effective. Although statistics may vary among organizations and regions, more than 87 percent of all disputes are settled in mediation.
Is Mediation Legally Binding?
Although the mediation process itself is voluntary (non-binding), the ultimate resolution or settlement becomes binding and legally enforceable if the language used in a contract or agreement is binding. That is, a mediator wants to help the parties come to a mutually agreeable solution to their problems but cannot force the parties to adhere to it unless the agreement is put down as a written contract with both parties agreeing and signing to the terms.
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