Frequently Asked Questions

dv1223092What is the difference between mediation and arbitration and litigation?

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process that involves neutral mediators who help people resolve their disputes. It is a confidential process where the parties, not the mediators, come up with a mutually agreeable resolution. Arbitration is another alternative dispute resolution process where an arbitrator listens to parties and based on the facts presented and current case law, issues a binding decision. Litigation involves a judge hearing the facts of a dispute and issuing a decision, based on the relevant case law, to resolve the dispute. A judge’s decision can be appealed.

Is the agreement reached in mediation binding and enforceable?

No. In mediation, the parties reach a mutually agreeable written agreement, which is not enforceable. However, studies have shown that when parties reach their own decision, they are more likely to comply with the terms of the agreement.

Is Mediation confidential?

Yes. Mediation is a confidential process and the content of the mediation session cannot be used in court. In addition, mediators cannot be called to testify at court.

Can you have a lawyer or representative present for the mediation session?

Yes, as long as the parties agree that you can have the representative present. However, having a lawyer or representative present is not necessary.

How do you measure success in the mediation process?

One way to measure success is to reach a mutually agreeable resolution in the form of a written agreement. Sometimes, after lengthy discussion, the parties are not able to reach a resolution on some of the issues. However, once the conversation begins during the mediation session it is more likely that the conversation will continue after the mediation process, which will lead parties to a resolution on the remaining issues.

How long does the mediation process take?

Elder mediation involves 1 hour preliminary interviews with each participant and a 2-4 hour mediation session. Parent/teen mediation is usually four 1 hour sessions.

Is mediation therapy?

No. Mediation resolves a conflict without going into the psychological reasons the parties were unable to reach a resolution on their own. While participants to the mediation process are given an opportunity to express their feelings, the process is designed to move parties to a quick resolution. Mediation is an issue-focused process.