What Is Mediation?
Mediation is an informal and confidential way for people to resolve disputes with the help of an 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, she helps the parties work out their own solutions and agreements.
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
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 agreement to mediate that delineates services to be rendered as well as describes mediation confidentiality.
- 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).
- Individual telephone consultations between sessions, if needed.
- For divorce and custody conflicts, mediation of all issues needed to advance development of a divorce decree and/or custody agreement.
- A memorandum clearly delineating all agreements made in mediation. For divorce clients, this becomes the foundation for your property settlement agreement.
- Referrals to allied professionals who respect and understand the mediation process and whose expertise can facilitate aspects of your agreement.
We do not provide:
Fileable property settlement agreements for divorce. We will negotiate all the terms, but you will want an attorney to finish the filing process.
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.