Mediation services offer people involved in disputes a confidential, non-confrontational process to resolve their issues in a way that works for them. A neutral third party, called a mediator, facilitates the process by helping parties discuss their concerns and reach an agreement on practical, workable, and mutually satisfying solutions. This process saves participants the time, stress, and expense of going to court.
Disputes are resolved out of court in about 80% of cases that are mediated. The reasons are many:
In mediation, both parties remain in control of their dispute. The dispute is decided by the parties themselves, through their own negotiation. The result is a legally binding agreement that can be enforced in the same manner as any other legal decision. The parties also retain more flexibility with the outcome of their dispute than they would in a lawsuit, which typically has strict procedures and rules that must be followed.
Litigation is costly, and the costs are unpredictable. Mediation is significantly less expensive than the cost of a typical lawsuit, and the results are much quicker. Typically, a case in court takes years to reach a trial, while a negotiated settlement is reached within a few sessions during a short period of time. Moreover, a negotiated settlement may reduce or even eliminate later litigation fees.
AVOIDS LOST TIME
Mediation is generally a much faster process than litigation. Depending on the complexity of the dispute, a mediation may take one day or several days. A trial, on the other hand, can last months or even years. Moreover, it can be emotionally and physically exhausting for the parties.
When a dispute is resolved in mediation, it often helps to preserve relationships that might otherwise be damaged by an adversarial Court battle. It also models listening and problem solving skills that can benefit both parties in their ongoing interactions.
MEDIATION IS VOLUNTARY
Mediation services are voluntary, which allows both parties to avoid the stress and anxiety of a court battle. The parties are encouraged to talk about emotions, which can lead to more productive and satisfactory discussions.
The parties agree to a neutral mediator who has expertise in the type of dispute in question. The mediator then schedules a session at a convenient time for both parties. Sessions are usually held at the mediator’s office, rather than in a private home or business.
Currently, the mediations are limited to serving tenants who make under 30% of the area median income (AMI). If you are interested in a mediation and you believe you meet the criteria, please contact the Tenant Resource Center at your county courthouse. The Court’s staff can complete screening with you and help you to schedule a mediation. A qualified mediator/consultant can talk with you by phone or in person to help determine if mediation might be helpful for your situation. You can find a mediator in the Statewide Mediator Directory, or ask the Court’s staff for a referral. mediation services