What is mediation?
The process of mediation involves the inclusion of a third-party trained professional in the settling of disputes between the two parties. Mediation is a powerful tool to settle disputes related to several disagreements that arise in divorce, child support, division of property, distribution of inheritance, issues involving the family business, separation, and more. A trained mediator may organize a formal mediation session or an informal meeting to help reach a settlement between the parties.
How does mediation work?
As mentioned, the mediation process can be formal or informal and essentially, consists of six steps:
- Planning: The mediator begins the process by organizing a venue, time, and other details for the parties to meet. They also recommend who should be attending such as lawyers, family members, or co-workers, if needed.
- Introductions: At the beginning of the meeting, the mediator introduces the parties present, important ground rules as well as the goals for the mediation session.
- Opening remarks: Once introduced, the two parties present their case from their perspectives without interruptions.
- Joint discussion: Once both parties present their sides, the meeting is open to questions and concerns to better navigate through the process. The mediator encourages clear listening on either end, which may have been impossible earlier. The mediator also repeats important pointers from each side and asks for clarification, where necessary.
- Caucuses: In the case of angered and loud discussions during the mediation process, the mediator may separate the parties into two separate rooms for private discussions. These are known as caucuses. The mediator can offer a promise of confidentiality in these private sessions so the parties can open up and share information that they would not have in the open mediation meeting.
- Negotiation: Once the discussions are complete, the mediator can come up with proposals that meet the needs and concerns of both parties. This process of negotiations and back and forth can be done in the same room or through ‘shuttle diplomacy’ where the mediator offers proposals and counterproposals to both parties separately.
For more information on what mediation is and how it is conducted, contact Westover Law today!