In mediation, parties resolve conflict through a cooperative process rather than an adversarial process such as litigation.
At Reade Law Firm, PC, we understand how to guide clients to effective resolution through mediation and other cooperative processes. Our attorneys are qualified to serve as third-party neutrals, and we also have extensive experience providing advice and advocacy as legal representatives during the mediation and collaborative processes.
We firmly believe in the advantages mediation can provide, but our team also understands how to succeed in reaching objectives through traditional litigation, so we have the advantage of a broad perspective when it comes to dispute resolution. We can help make the most of the mediation process to achieve beneficial solutions without unnecessary stress or delays.
Resolving Disputes with the Assistance of a Neutral Third Party
In a legal dispute, such as a disagreement about custody arrangements, our legal system has a long history of relying on the assistance of a neutral third party to settle the contested issues. Traditionally, the neutral third party has been a judge with the power to make decisions, even if neither of the parties to the dispute agree with those decisions. Bringing a case to a judge is adversarial, pitting one party against another. Attorneys for each party often try to make the other party look bad to “win” their objectives. Since control lies entirely with the judge, however, the outcome often leads both parties to feel as though they have lost, particularly when the adversarial nature of the proceedings raises anger and stress levels.
However, a neutral third party can help bring about a resolution through other means. In cooperative processes such as mediation, the neutral third party does not have the authority to make decisions. Instead, the authority remains with the two parties who are in disagreement. What the neutral third party does instead of choosing between the two is to help the disputing parties find areas of common ground so they can reach agreements that are acceptable to both of them.
How Mediation Works
When disputes are resolved through mediation, the neutral third party, the mediator, facilitates agreement between the parties by helping them compromise to find mutually acceptable solutions. A mediator meets with the parties privately, such as in a conference room. Issues might be resolved in one session, or it may take several sessions to discuss all the relevant issues in a particular case. Parties may receive advice from an attorney before or between sessions, but attorneys do not participate directly. Although the mediator may be trained and licensed as an attorney, the mediator remains strictly neutral during mediation and does not provide advice or advocacy to either party.
During discussions, the mediator can help the parties identify and focus on the issues at the root of the dispute. Then, the mediator can guide discussions that involve evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each party’s position on the disputed issues. Mediators are trained in methods that foster joint problem-solving. At the end of the process, the aim is to create an agreement with terms approved by both parties. This agreement can be enforceable by law just as the outcome of a proceeding settled by a judge.
If parties reach an agreement on some but not all issues, then the issues still under dispute can be settled through litigation without spending time in court dealing with issues already resolved. A mediator can streamline the process of trial preparation, saving considerable time and money.
Mediation Allows Parties to Remain in Control of the Outcome
Many people opt to resolve disputes through mediation because this approach reduces the tension and animosity in processes such as divorce. Instead of competing to make the other party look bad, which tends to happen in litigation, the mediator works to show the parties what they have in common.
Mediation provides a way to settle differences amicably and enables the parties involved in the dispute to control the outcome. The parties themselves, rather than a judge or arbitrator, select the terms that will govern their arrangement. Mediation allows for the creation of custom solutions designed to fit each party’s specific needs.
Let Reade Law Firm, PC Help You Take Advantage of the Benefits of Mediation
At Reade Law Firm, PC, our team has decades of experience guiding clients through dispute resolution using processes tailored to their goals and circumstances. We can explain how mediation would work in your situation and help you determine whether this method would provide the optimum method to resolve differences and create agreements that work to your advantage going forward. Just schedule a consultation to get started.