What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process for resolving legal disputes without having a judge decidethe issues. The parties in a legal case or dispute can present their requests andarguments to a third party, called a mediator, who will try to assist them inreaching an agreement.
Many, if not most civil cases, including divorce and other domestic relationscases, now require the parties to attend mediation. If the mediation processresults in an agreement on some or all of the issues, it will reduce the cost to theparties and often speed up the process. The courts will not hear these cases untilafter the parties have attempted to resolve their disputes through mediation.
The mediator will prepare an agreement, called a Memorandum of Understanding, outlining a complete or partial agreement reached by the parties. This documentwill then be sent to the court, and when signed by a judge will become an Orderof the Court. Any unresolved issues can still be decided by the court.
Mediation is one of the methods of solving legal disputes called AlternativeDispute Resolution (ADR).

How Does Mediation Work?

In many cases, the parties meet with the mediator in separate rooms. One partywill explain his or her position, and what type of agreement he or she is lookingfor to the mediator. The mediator will then go to the other party, and listen towhat he or she has to say. The mediator will look for issues of agreement, andwill facilitate the parties in coming up with compromises for any outstandingissues. In those cases where the parties are in separate rooms, the mediator willgo back and forth between the parties, so they do not have to be together duringthe process. If the parties agree, they may meet together for a brief introductorysession to explain the process that will be followed during the mediation.
The mediator will prepare a written agreement on those issues which have beenresolved, the parties will sign the agreement, and it can be filed with the court tobecome an Order of the Court.