Mediation Services in Media, PA
What Is Mediation?
The mediation process is an informal and confidential way for people to resolve disputes with the help of a impartial third party. A mediator is trained to facilitate discussions, uncover hidden issues and underlying interests, and foster creative and effective solutions to advance lasting agreements. The mediator does not decide who is right or wrong, or issue a decision. Instead, he or she helps the parties work out their own solutions and agreements.
We both felt 100% that the agreement represented both of our needs and wants.
~ Mediation Client
Some important aspects of mediation:
Voluntary – All participants must voluntarily agree to the process and may leave at any time for any reason.
Collaborative — No participant in mediation can impose anything on anyone, so everyone is motivated to work together to address the issues and reach optimal outcomes.
Controlled — Each participant has complete decision-making power and a veto over each and every provision of any mediated agreement. Nothing can be imposed on you.
Confidential – All participants and the mediator agree to maintain confidentiality. Mediation materials and discussion, except for a finalized and signed agreement, are inadmissible in court or other proceeding. In the interest of public safety, Pennsylvania has identified a few exceptions to mediation confidentiality.
Informed — The mediation process offers the opportunity to obtain and incorporate legal and other expert information and advice. Individual or mutually acceptable experts can be retained. However, expert advice is never binding in mediation. The participants always retain decision-making power. Mediators may encourage parties to obtain legal counsel and will advise them to have any mediated agreement involving legal issues reviewed by independent legal counsel prior to signing.
Impartial –– The mediator has an equal and balanced responsibility to assist each mediating party and cannot favor the interests of any one party over another, nor should the mediator favor a particular result in the mediation. Your mediator is ethically obligated to acknowledge any substantive bias regarding issues in discussion. The mediator’s role is to ensure that parties reach agreements in a voluntary and informed manner, and not as a result of coercion or intimidation.
Satisfying — Based upon having actively participated in voluntarily resolving issues, participant satisfaction and agreement compliance are found to be elevated through mediation compared to court options.
Adapted from “What Is Mediation?” by James Melamed
Mediation provides people in conflict with a forum to talk and listen in a new way. It’s the preferred way to resolve a conflict when preserving the relationship is a key goal. Whether your dispute is with a family member, your soon-to-be ex-spouse, a neighbor, roommate, your co-worker, client, business partner, boss or staff member, it’s not just about resolving a particular conflict. It’s also about working productively with that person after the conflict is resolved.
Mediation can help you:
- Resolve your conflict,
- Reduce or avoid legal costs,
- Give you greater control over your outcomes,
- Reduce animosity and antagonism,
- Preserve and possibly even strengthen your relationship,
- Establish new ways to communicate, and
- Build competence for addressing future conflict.
Mediation also allows the solution to be yours, not something handed down from another person. And solutions that are created by you tend to fit better and last longer.
Mediation is appropriate for most types of conflicts at most stages. You don’t need to be yelling, crying, or on the verge of litigation before using mediation. It’s a great way to facilitate any difficult conversation or decision. It can also be the breakthrough for conflicts that seem to drag on or when other conflict resolution methods have failed.
I was very impressed with how Ellen was able to hear and validate both parties and yet remain impartial to taking sides.
~ Mediation Client
What You Get
Your mediator provides impartial facilitation of discussions between participants. This facilitation includes helping parties understand and communicate all the issues and interests on both sides of the conflict, brainstorm solutions, consider options, and reach agreements.
Progressive Conflict Solutions mediation clients will receive the following (varies depending on mediation type):
- A confidentiality agreement (to be printed and signed by all participants prior to attending the first mediation session)
- A written overview of the mediation process
- Assignments before and between meetings to advance informed and efficient negotiations, if appropriate
- Facilitated discussion of each participant’s concerns, interests and goals.
- Suggestions for possible negotiated solutions and assistance with brainstorming and testing options
- Summaries of preliminary agreements and related follow-up actions, if needed (delivered as emails to the parties and any representing attorneys)
- Individual telephone consultations between sessions (generally free of charge)
- For divorce and custody conflicts, mediation of all issues needed to advance development of a divorce decree and/or custody agreement
- Summaries of all agreements (delivered to the parties and any representing attorneys)
- A memorandum of understanding, to be signed and delivered to the parties and any representing attorneys. This becomes the foundation for your divorce decree.
- Referrals to allied professionals who respect and understand the mediation process and whose expertise can facilitate aspects of your agreement. This includes partnering with a local divorce filing service which can help you efficiently complete the legal process for your divorce.
We do not provide:
- Written divorce decrees
- Marital or individual counseling
- Legal representation. Participants are encouraged to consult with their own attorney and other advisors regarding their legal and other rights and responsibilities. In some situations, participants may be required to have legal counsel.
- A guarantee of agreement on all points of conflict. All requested issues will be mediated, but we cannot guarantee all will be settled.
Who Should Mediate?
Anyone in a conflict can mediate. Mediation is a great way to avoid litigation and its related costs, preserve (and even improve) your relationship, and retain some control over your agreement.
You most assuredly made a positive difference in my life.
~ Mediation Client
Some examples of conflicts appropriate for mediation include:
- New or challenged cohabitation (between couples – married, unmarried, gay or straight — or just friends)
- Adult children returning to live in the family home
- Prenuptial agreements
- Separation agreements including trial separation terms
- Divorce and custody
- Co-housing agreements or disputes
- Change management
- Organizational or governance issues
- Landlord/tenant disputes
- Problems in teams or between colleagues
- Client/customer complaints
- Management/staff conflicts
- Management disagreements
- Succession plans
This is just a sampling of the situations that can be mediated. Mediation is also effective for early stage conflicts or situations with a high potential for strife before the conflict is fully expressed. You don’t need to wait until someone is yelling, crying or threatening to sue.
Before You Mediate
Prior to any mediation session, we complete an “intake” process. At Progressive Conflict Solutions, we conduct telephone interviews and written questionnaires with each participant to better understand what they consider to be the scope of the conflict, as well as their individual issues and goals. This process helps us decide on the most efficient conflict resolution approach. For divorce and custody clients, some of this process is in person. All intake work is free of charge.
In some situations, we may make a referral to another conflict resolution provider or determine that mediation is not an appropriate avenue.