Mediation is a private process in which an impartial person, a mediator, encourages and facilitates communications between parties to a conflict and strives to promote reconciliation, settlement, or understanding. A mediator’s obligation is to assist the parties in reaching a voluntary settlement. A mediator does not act as a judge, an arbitrator, a counselor or an advisor to the parties. A mediator does not render a decision on the issues in dispute. The primary responsibility for the resolution of a dispute rests with the parties.
The most significant value to mediation is that it gives the parties complete control over the outcome of their dispute. The parties can fashion a creative settlement that fits their unique goals, lifestyles, values and needs. The parties can be, and are encouraged to be, as creative as possible in fashioning an order that they will have to live with indefinitely. In contrast to litigation, where a judge imposes an order on the parties after getting to know them for all of a few hours, in mediation the parties create an order that considers all the factors that are specifically important to these parties.
- The process is private.
Rather than airing their dirty laundry in a public courtroom where a record of all proceedings is made, the parties can feel free to discuss, negotiate, propose creative options for settlement, and vent frustrations in a private and confidential atmosphere.
- The process is confidential.
State law requires that, except in very limited circumstances, the mediation process and all communications made during the mediation process are confidential. Settlement options offered during mediation can never be repeated in court later, if mediation should fail. A mediator cannot be called to testify about what occurred during mediation and the mediator will generally destroy all notes made during the mediation process, except for any final agreement made by the parties.
If the parties reach an agreement, the agreement will be reduced to writing by the mediator as a “Rule 11 Agreement”. That means that once it is signed by the parties, it is a binding and irrevocable agreement that gets filed with the court. Neither party can change their mind later. The attorneys will work from the Rule 11 Agreement in composing the more formal final documentation that will be presented to the court for signature.
Even if the parties only reach a partial agreement, the same procedures are followed and only the remaining issues will continue forward toward litigation.
To schedule your mediation, contact the Law Office of Arthur J. White III, P.C. today.