Mediation is when a neutral third party, known as a mediator, helps two or more disputing parties find a compromise. A mediator can be a beneficial aid in communicating civilly to reach a goal that best satisfies everyone involved.
Mediators don’t take sides in disputes but provide support and solutions for a fair settlement. During negotiation, mediators aren’t present to issue commands or make final decisions. Their job is to moderate the discussion, find common ground and encourage resolution.
Most commonly seen in divorce and child custody issues, mediation can also be utilized in family and business conflicts. When deciding if mediation is the most productive way to solve your dispute, consider how you’d like to communicate with the other party and if you’d be able to advocate for yourself in an open discussion.
When is Mediation Necessary?
If you’re looking for a flexible process, mediation is an informal approach to conflict resolution. When parties are facing difficulties confronting each other, a mediator will help initiate the flow of conversation and guide them through the negotiation.
When you choose to have a mediator, you are also choosing to compromise. Using a mediator means you trust the other party is committed to finding an agreeable arrangement. If the parties are reasonable and willing to agree, they will find mediation to be a worthwhile process.
The Pros and Cons
While mediation is a productive tool for negotiation, every dispute is unique. If one party is likely to take advantage of an informal situation, then mediation will not be effective.
As a voluntary process, mediation must be a consensual conversation in which everyone involved is a willing participant. Agreements through a mediator can also include non-legal matters that wouldn’t be addressed in court and are often more private than public court disputes. Other advantages of mediation include:
- Saving time and money by avoiding litigation
- Leading to a healthy relationship after the resolution
- Allowing direct communication between parties
- Maintaining control of the decision making
- Resolving the dispute on your own terms
Although mediation can be effective for amicable parties, not every dispute can be resolved on friendly terms. The mediator is impartial, which means you will be responsible for advocating your agenda. If there is an existing hostile relationship between the parties, consider the disadvantages before moving forward with a mediator, such as:
- Resulting in more issues if one party is unreasonable
- Not being able to advocate specifically for your needs
- Still leading to litigation if mediation is unsuccessful
- Not receiving legal advice during the dispute
Furthermore, mediation does not guarantee a solution that everyone will agree on.
At Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri, we can help you determine whether a mediator is appropriate for your case. We have decades of experience in San Jose and the greater Bay Area dealing with mediation in a number of cases. Contact us for a free 30-minute consultation at 408-553-0801, and one of our attorneys will guide you through the negotiation process.
Disclaimer: this article does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.