What is Mediation?
PROCESS: Mediation follows and organic sequence that unfolds differently in each situation, but still has recognizable phases.
DISPUTES: Usually parties have specific incidents, disagreements and concerns that have brought them to mediation. The mediation may also address underlying conflicts and systemic causes, the the parties want to take on that larger project.
INTERMEDIARY: Literally, "one who goes between". Mediators believe the parties themselves are best able to define the issues, generate options leading to a solution that responds to their own needs. The mediator helps the parties listen and talk with each other, consider each others perspective and make voluntary, informed decisions.The mediator has some degree of impartiality and detachment from the outcome. As mentioned above, mediators guide the process; however, the parties do the work of coming up with the solutions and making the decisions.
PARTIES: These may be a person, a group or in some cases, a whole nation - who come as a unit to the mediation, or are represented there, and who share a common identity or interests.
CONVERSATION: The way out of conflict is through dialogue, which means talking and listening directly to each other. Dialogue broadens the parties' understanding of their situation, of each other, and of their desired future. This is rarely a neat or rational process!
JOINTLY RESOLVE CONCERNS: The goal is workable, durable solutions that meet the participants' practical, emotional , and social concerns as fully as possible. Mediators work to create a cooperative atmosphere for problem-solving where the parties themselves plan how they wish to proceed, individually and collectively.
"I had tried to resolve the issue by contacting the individual and the Code Enforcement Officer to resolve the issue without having to go to the expense of a court hearing. The Code Enforcement Officer informed me of NDS - and that they may be able to resolve my issue at minimal cost. When we met I did not have much hope as all other avenues had not produced desired results. In no time, with this renewed intervention, we were both talking and resolving our issue. It was great how easy this process was once the representative got it started on positive ground. I would highly recommend this process, and hopefully your issue will be resolved as easily as my issue was." - Diane
What is the Role of the Mediator(s)
Mediators play a neutral role as they attempt to help the parties involved, resolve or better manage your dispute. They do not "take sides with either party." The mediators job is to assist the parties in understanding one another and in reaching agreements. To do this, they establish ground rules and ask questions (usually to one person at a time). They will help the parties identify the issues and interests in need of resolution. Once issues and interests are identified, they will encourage the parties to brainstorm solutions. After the mediation, they will write down the agreement and, after gaining your approval, give each of the participants a copy of the agreement to take home.
Mediators do not:
Are Agreements Legally Binding?
If an agreement is reached, the mediators will assist the parties by setting the terms of the agreement to writing. The agreement can be as informal as a “working agreement” or as formal as a legal contract. When the agreements are incorporated into a court order or a divorce decree they are legally binding and subject to the approval of the judge. Mediated agreements can be more flexible than court ordered solutions because they can be changed by mutual agreement as the needs of families and children change over time. Any change to an agreement previously approved by a judge must be filed with the court in order to be legally binding.
Mediation Disclaimer - Read This
Neighborhood Dispute Settlement is not a law firm and the mediators are not acting as a participant’s attorney. We are not a substitute for the advice of an attorney and we cannot provide legal advice. Neighborhood Dispute Settlement is not permitted to engage in the practice of law and is prohibited from providing any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation to a participant regarding possible legal rights, remedies, defenses, options, or strategies. Mediators do not review their answers for legal sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide legal advice or apply the law to the facts of a particular situation. Mediators are not establishing an attorney-client relationship, and no attorney-client relationship will be created. However, all discussions that occur during mediations are confidential by law. No participant or mediator is allowed to discuss topics or information relayed during the mediation process.
"The popular Mediator's Handbook presents a time-tested, adaptable model for helping people work through conflict. Extensively revised to incorporate recent practice and thinking, the accessible manual format lays out a clear structure for new and occasional mediators, while offering a detailed, nuanced resource for professionals."