By Kate Hall, JD, Mediator
If you are having or anticipate a dispute with a neighbor, spouse, or friend that you feel you need help to resolve, there are several options that do not involve going to court. One option is mediation. Mediation is:
-private and confidential
-fair and equitable
-focused on achieving an outcome that prevents future dispute
-based on the specific needs, schedules, and circumstances of the people involved
What is mediation?
Mediation is a type of dispute resolution process. It is for people who are thinking differently about the same situation and who have the intention to find a resolution that fits everyone’s needs. The people involved are assisted by a mediator, who is neutral, meaning that the mediator does not advocate for either side. The mediator also does not decide any issues like a judge would. Instead, the people involved come to a resolution that fits their specific circumstances.
A mediator provides structure to the conversation and keeps it focused on the issues at hand. At the beginning of mediation, the mediator and the people involved set ground rules for the conversation and an agenda together. The people involved talk about their experience and what outcomes they would like to see from the dispute. Once all issues are explored, options are brainstormed, and potential outcomes are evaluated, the mediator will write up an agreement, or contract between the people involved in the dispute. The agreement is designed to provide guidance in case a similar issue comes up again.