Most people think that they have only three choices when confronted with a conflict. They can work the problem out themselves, go to court, or simply give up and give in. But there is a fourth option...mediation!
Mediation is an informal process where the two disputing parties meet together with an impartial mediator. The mediator is trained to assist the parties to come to a resolution that they can both live with. Mediation differs from litigation (going to court) because the mediator does not impose a solution. Instead, he or she helps the parties in conflict come to an acceptable solution on their own.
Benefits of Mediation
Mediation is a creative and flexible way of resolving disputes. The actual process may vary depending on the parties' needs and the mediator's style. Usually, both parties meet face-to-face to discuss the issues; however, online and phone consultations are also possible. The mediator helps the discussions remain focused and productive. The mediator guides the disputants toward a solution by helping them define the important issues and understand each other's positions.
The process of mediation does more than resolve disputes. Mediation educates all the parties involved in strategies for more effectively dealing with conflict situations. Disputants can take what they learn in the mediation process and use it to resolve disputes and deal with conflict in their daily lives. Mediation has been described as an empowering process because it gives people some of the tools they need to solve their own problems and improve their lives and relationships.
Historically, disputes submitted to professional mediation services have an 80% settlement rate. Also, both parties are much more likely to adhere to the details of their agreement.
Mediation hearings can be scheduled in a matter of days. Scheduling a court proceeding could take weeks or even longer because of heavy caseloads. Also, when people use mediation instead of litigation, it frees up the courts to hear matters that are more serious.