CIRCUIT CIVIL MEDIATION?
Disputes fall into different categories: those that are business disputes (property issues, personal injury issues, construction issues, workers compensation, sink holes, etc.) and those that are personal (divorces, custody, visitation, support, etc.). The business disputes that are valued at $15000 or less are usually mediated by a county certified mediator while those for more than $15000 would usually be mediated by a certified circuit civil mediator. The personal disputes are mediated by either family or dependency mediators.
Mediation is a meeting between those who are in dispute at a neutral venue to discuss settlement with the aid of a mediator who will help them to explore solutions and settlement options. The mediator may offer suggestions and bring out possible issues that may have been overlooked. The mediator does not make any decisions or determinations because this responsibility rests with the disputants themselves. A mediation does not require the kind of preparation that a full court case needs and can be scheduled very quickly. Many cases are resolved within a few hours and happily, statistics show that mediation works! 85% of commercial matters and 95% of personal injury matters are resolved by this process.
WHY IS MEDIATION SUCCESSFUL?
Because of the informal atmosphere and confidentiality of the meeting, a mediator is able to gather information that other approaches are not able to obtain. Because there is a requirement to be impartial, the mediator is able to
- reduce hostility that naturally occurs between people in dispute and help them to talk;
- open discussions on topics that may not have been considered;
- communicate proposals in terms that appear more acceptable;
- ask questions that reveal the real interests of parties;
- help each party to better understand the other parties’ views;
- gauge the way a proposal would be received;
- explore alternatives that may not have been considered;
- identify what is important and what is standing in the way of a settlement;
THE BENEFITS OF MEDIATION?
What you get in mediation that you don’t get if you go to court:
- parties are engaged in the negotiation;
- the neutral and objective mediator can assist the parties in exploring alternatives which they might not have considered on their own;
- as mediation can be scheduled right away while court dates may be months or years away;
- money is saved through reduced legal costs; Mediation is cheaper and quicker;
- less time and effort is required because there is no discovery, pleading motions practice, hearings, or rules of evidence
- because of the amicable solution, parties are more likely to continue their business relationship;
- creative solutions can become a part of the settlement.
- when you get a solution in mediation, you and the other party are more likely to comply and it is less likely that the agreement would be sabotaged at a later date.
- your point of view will be clearly explained to the other party and they will be able to respond with an acknowledgement of that point of view.
- reality of the likelihood of courtroom success can be discussed.
A major benefit of mediation – even if a resolution is not reached – is that the conflict is clarified, the issues are narrowed and communication becomes more civil. This will influence other methods to be more efficient and resolution may still occur prior to trial.
It is the mediator’s ethical responsibility to remain neutral (willing to assist all parties in an equal manner) and impartial (without favoring a particular outcome). A mediator must assist each party equally and remain free from favoritism or bias in word, action or appearance.
The decision about the outcome rests with the parties so the mediator’s task is to help create an environment whereby a realistic solution can be reached and to this end will help the parties to exercise self-determination and responsibility
WITH OR WITHOUT A LAWYER
Although there is no law that requires you obtain legal representation it is very important that you be aware of your rights and we do recommend that you consult a family lawyer.
Nothing that you say in a mediation will be repeated outside the negotiation. It is the ethical responsibility of the mediator to keep secret everything that happens during the mediation process. What you say is protected by law and may not even be repeated in court.
WHEN YOU SHOULD MEDIATE?
Because mediation allows you the forum to air your grievances and to work out resolutions that are acceptable to both parties, you should book the mediation as quickly as possible to get the whole thing over with.