The Mediation Process
Disputants wishing to resolve their conflict through mediation should locate a mediator through their local phone book or a website such as www.mediate.com and discuss their conflict with the mediator. All parties to the mediation sign an agreement to negotiate in good faith to reach a mutually acceptable solution to the dispute.
Some conflicts may be resolved in a single day of mediation. Others may require multiple sessions. There may be a single mediator or two mediators may co-mediate the dispute. The parties may meet together (joint session) or the mediator may work separately with each party (caucus). The parties may or may not be represented by attorneys in mediation. Since a mediation agreement is a binding contract, each party should have the final agreement approved by legal counsel if they were not represented by counsel during the mediation process.
The mediator is a neutral party; he or she can not give legal advice to any party to the mediation. Mediators typically are attorneys, but may come from any profession. Mediators should be trained in the mediation process and may be credentialed by state professional organizations.
The mediation process is confidential. If the parties are unable to resolve all issues in the dispute, all avenues of dispute resolution, including litigation, are available to the parties to resolve the open items.
©2008 Ronnie C. McClure, PhD, CPA