If you are going to mediation, it is helpful to know exactly what the mediator does. The mediator’s position is to facilitate the most productive conversation in order to allow parties to reach a resolution together. The mediator’s role is to assist and guide the parties, rather than make a judgment or insert his/her own opinion as to what should be done. In fact, the mediator cannot make any final decisions even they wanted to.
The primary tasks of a mediator include identifying the issues in dispute, staying unbiased throughout the process, resolving misunderstandings and aiding constructive conversation with the intent and sole purpose of reaching comprise and final settlement.
So, how do we reach compromise and final settlement?
First and foremost, both parties have to be open and both parties have to actually want a resolution. As they say, it takes two to tango, it also takes two to fight and it takes two to compromise and agree.
Usually, the mediation will start with the mediator introducing themselves and discussing his/her qualifications pertinent to this mediation. After the administrative topics are discussed (such as the confidentiality of the process and rules of conduct during the mediation), the parties are each given an opportunity to discuss issues and topics relevant to the dispute. The mediator will help identify the key issues that need to be resolved, any misunderstandings (which are common as people often don’t hear what the other person is saying) and distinguish areas of commonality to arrive at a settlement.
At this point in the process, negotiations begin until an agreement is reached or the end of the session. At any time during the session, the mediator may elect to caucus with the parties’ separately. A caucus is a private, individual session with the mediator, giving the mediator a better understanding of each party’s position and expectations. This allows the mediator to encourage and present different options to yield a more satisfying result as the person the mediator is working with is able to speak freely to explore different options and outcomes.
A good mediator can make all the difference between a good settlement and a bad one or not be settling at all.
If you are considering mediation to resolve a pending dispute and you would like to work with one of our experienced divorce attorneys, please call OWENS & PERKINS at (480) 630-2464 to schedule your free 30-minute consultation.