Mediation is a process for people in conflict which includes two or more participants and a mediator. The trained and impartial mediator helps people in conflict to communicate, understand each other, explore options for mutual gain, and if possible, reach satisfactory agreements that satisfy the participants’ needs. A mediator does not provide legal advice or recommend the terms of any agreements. Instead, the mediator helps people reach their own decisions which may include agreements, may rebuild their relationship, and if possible, find lasting solutions to their disputes. Mediation is a process that lets people speak for themselves and make their own decisions.
DMS offers both private as well as court referred mediation. In either case the mediation process is the same. However, there are some procedural differences.
In private mediation one or both parties contact us to learn about the process and decide if mediation would help them resolve issues. Following the decision to move forward a 2- or 4-hour session is scheduled. If successful the mediator prepares a summary of the conclusions for the parties.
In court referred mediation the court has decided that mediation would likely lead to resolution, thereby avoiding the time and expense of going to Court. A mediator is assigned. The parties must contact the mediator within 15 days (or a date set by the Court) to start the process There is generally an option to opt out by informing the Court following the procedures outlined in the court order. Usually, two sessions of two hours each are required. This may be voluntarily increased if the parties agree. Mediation must be conducted within a date set by the Court. If settlement is reached prior to mediation, both the Court and the mediator must be informed. At the completion of a successful mediation the mediator reports the fact to the Court and a summary of the solution is provided to both parties.
During mediation all parties come together either in person or by Zoom. We will spend a few minutes getting to know you and then share expectations. The mediation process and guidelines will be explained. There are 3 things to keep in mind as you go through the process. Mediation is:
Mediation is hard work. The process can be emotional and difficult. You will need to express your views and at the same time understand the views of the other party. Understand you are not likely to have all your “wants” met. The process is a give and take which will involve compromise.
At the end of a successful mediation, we will prepare a written summary of the solution for the parties to use going forward.
Although it sounds a bit obvious, get a good night sleep the day before. As mentioned, the process is hard work and requires all parties to concentrate and focus on a positive outcome.
Before the mediation think carefully of a range of options that might be acceptable. Try to think about the other party’s position and what options they might consider acceptable. Be prepared to objectively present your position with as little emotion as possible. Spend some time considering how life will change if a solution is reached. Mediation can bring closure to a stressful experience and allow you to “move on.”
"In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity"
– Albert Einstein