What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process that brings parties together to resolve their differences through discussion and problem-solving. The goal is to achieve "win-win" solutions. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps facilitate the dialogue but is not the final decision-maker, arbitrator, or judge. Mediation can resolve disputes quickly and satisfactorily without the expense, delay and anxiety of litigation.
Offering a safe environment for parties to express their needs and interests, discuss options and reach a mutually agreeable resolution, mediation can preserve important relationships. Mediators assure fairness of the process, facilitate communication, and maintain balance of power between parties.
Mediation sessions are confidential and voluntary for all parties. The process typically involves one or more meetings between the disputing parties and the mediator. It may also include one or more confidential sessions between individual parties and the mediator (a “caucus”). Either party may withdraw at any time. Generally, a signed agreement is binding; in some cases, court approval may be necessary.
During mediation parties may choose to be represented by an attorney. Mediators may not give legal advice or interpret the law. They can refer parties to impartial outside experts in legal, financial or other fields to address specific questions or issues that might arise. If parties arrive at a mutually satisfactory resolution, mediators may assist in drafting Memorandums of Understanding, comprised of the terms to which the parties have agreed. If mediation is unsuccessful and an agreement cannot be reached, parties may still pursue all legal remedies, including private lawsuits.
"We thought that Dr. Turner and Ms. Langelaar did a fabulous job of mediating our case. We were skeptical about mediation at first, but were quickly made to feel comfortable, and our skepticism turned to optimism as we made forward progress in reaching agreement on our parenting plan." Lindsey, Centennial, Colorado