Mediation is Creative Problem Solving with a non-confrontational approach.
A mediated resolution or mediated agreement is a settlement of the disputed issues reached between the parties with the assistance of a mediator and at times, with the advice of the couples’ attorney, if any. Typically, the judge will approve the resolution and will enter it as an order of the court. The Judge may, however, disapprove the resolution. If this happens, or if the parties do not reach a resolution, the case is heard by the court.
Can I say what I want during mediation?
Yes. Mediation is confidential and designed to enable parties to negotiate a settlement of their differences. What is said in the mediation session is not admissible as evidence in a trial, nor can the mediator be called on or subpoenaed to testify in court about what was said during a mediation session.
How does mediation differ from arbitration?
Mediation differs from arbitration in that the mediator does not make a decision but helps the parties communicate and may make recommendations for the couples’ consideration. The mediator works with the couple to find common ground to serve as a basis for the resolution of their differences.
How does mediation differ from counseling?
Counseling seeks to salvage the relationship between the parties. Mediation works toward a mutually acceptable resolution of the problems resulting from the break-down of the relationship. In domestic cases or family cases, this means that the thrust of mediation is not to preserve the marriage but to assume the inevitability of divorce and to help the parties resolve the disputes that exist between them so that they may reach an agreement to be filed with the Court. The goal is to try to resolve such matters as custody, parental rights, alimony, and property division, in a mutually acceptable way.
How does mediation compare with a trial?
The special advantage of mediation is its flexibility and confidentiality. The mediator is not bound by rules of evidence or court rules. The mediator can meet with parties individually or together, with or without an attorney present. It is not public like a trial or Court proceeding. The parties can have as many sessions as they need or want in order to reach a final resolution of their issues. The agreement they reach is their own. Most beneficially, the agreement is not made by a judge who may only see them for a two hour hearing before issuing an order that will affect their life and the life of the family for a long time.