In our everyday lives we all rely upon skills of negotiation and mediation to navigate, whether it is buying groceries and gas, signing a new lease, or dealing with our office coworkers, bosses and clients to help us navigate our lives. The skill and the art of mediation include many ways to approach conflict management toward resolution that range from least to most effective. Conflicts can be talked out, negotiated, arbitrated, adjudicated, resolved by legislation, by political action, or by violent force. Many people are afraid of conflict and avoid it as much as they can, and yet if they had developed conflict resolution skills, they would welcome them as a chance to move to deeper communication and understanding.
Mediation is the method of helping parties who have a disagreement to hear one another in a different voice, that of the mediator, and to minimize the harm and losses that can come from disagreement or destruction reaction. Mediators provide a “best options” strategy to find solutions that are best for both parties that give them incentives to reach agreement.
Mediation, as used in family law, sometimes also called “alternative dispute resolution” (ADR), resolves disputes between two or more parties with concrete terms that are bound as orders by the court. Typically, a third party, the mediator, assists the parties to negotiate a settlement. Disputants can mediate issues in a variety of domains, such as legal, diplomatic, workplace or employment, business or commercial, community, church and family matters.
The term “mediation” broadly refers to any instance in which a third party helps others reach agreement. More specifically, mediation has a structure, timetable and dynamics that “ordinary” negotiation lacks. The process is private and confidential and can produce binding orders that are enforceable by the courts. Participation is typically voluntary and if so, is much more likely to be successful. The mediator acts as a neutral third party and facilitates rather than directs the process. The mediator is also immune from being called as a witness in court, a public policy for encouraging out of court solutions and saving judicial resources for the “unsolvable” cases that only a judge and jury should be hearing and deciding. Mediation is becoming more widespread in acceptance as a legitimate way to efficiently and intelligently solve conflicts, be they minuscule or monumental.
Mediators are trained in special ways to open, or pace forward the dialogue and empathy between disputants, with a strong desire to reach resolution because that is the only thing they have been hired to do – to “get it done.”
At WHYmediate we can help you with mediation in all areas of family law and probate and can serve in other areas of business disputes as well. This can include prenuptial agreements, annulments, divorce and LGBT divorce, paternity and maternity, parenting time, grandparent rights, step-parent adoption, legal decision making and parenting time and child support, temporary agreements and division of assets.
Call WHYMediate for a consultation to see if mediation might be your best option in 2016 for resolving your conflict in a positive, protected environment.