When parties have a family dispute, they may believe that the only option is to go to court to resolve it. They may want to consider mediation as an alternative.
Mediators help to facilitate communication between the parties and may help them assess their options to resolve the dispute, but they do not make decisions for them. The mediator is neutral and does not agree with one side over the other. Mediation is intended to be a collaborative process.
Before the mediation begins, the mediator will familiarize him or herself with the issues and will explain the process. Each party will also have an opportunity to state their position and ask clarifying questions.
The mediator may then meet with each party separately. The mediator can discuss each offer and counteroffer with them. The parties should come to the mediation prepared with documentation to support their position, if applicable.
Benefits of participation
One of the benefits of mediation is that it allows the parties to control the outcome. Once an issue is presented to the court, they may have less influence over how the dispute is resolved.
Also, mediation is a confidential process. If the parties provide confidential information to the mediator, it will stay confidential unless they specifically authorize the mediator to release it to the other party. They also have the option to terminate their participation in the mediation at any time.
If the parties reach an agreement, they will put it in writing. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, they will still have the option to go to court.
If families would like to address their concerns through mediation, there is assistance available to do so.