FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Mediation is a confidential process for resolving conflict in which an impartial third party – a mediator – helps people in conflict to find a solution that is acceptable to everyone involved.
Mediation gives all parties a chance to be heard in a neutral environment and then decide for themselves what a fair settlement to their conflict should be. Mediated agreements most often involve more creative and satisfying results than are available through the courts. Although there are no guarantees that mediation will resolve every dispute, mediation is beneficial when resolving disputes in situations where the outcome or the preservation of a relationship is important to the parties.
Mediation sessions are conducted in a comfortable, private setting at a time agreed upon by all parties. During the session:
- The mediator will ask questions to help the parties identify the key issues of the dispute and to make sure that each issue is clear to everyone.
- Each person will have the opportunity to share their view of the situation.
- The mediator will help the parties engage in creative and collaborative discussion regarding the possible solutions to the problem.
- The mediator will put the agreement reached in writing. The parties and their counsel (if applicable) review and sign the document.
Mediation sessions are typically scheduled for two-hour time periods. The number of sessions required to resolve a dispute is determined by individual needs. In many cases, conflicts can be resolved in one session.
In general, mediation is significantly less expensive than other professional conflict resolution methods. As a nonprofit organization, the Center offers mediation services on a sliding fee scale for those who income qualify. Services will not be denied based on an inability to pay.
It is important that the mediation is done somewhere that is neutral for everyone involved. We usually arrange to do mediation sessions at our offices at 610 ‘J’ Street in Lincoln. If there is another location that is more convenient for the parties we can arrange to hold the session there.
To begin the process we do need both parties to consent to mediation. In some instances parties are mandated by the court to attempt to mediate their conflict. If this is the case, both parties are required to give mediation a serious try.
Even if you are unable to reach an agreement on all of the issues involved in the conflict you may be able to reach a partial, temporary, or trial agreement or set the stage for future negotiations. Parties often report that the mediation process helped them clarify and better understand the issues involved whether agreement was reached or not. If parties to a mediation can not reach an agreement they can always use other methods to find a solution to the impasse.
Many of our clients have already retained the services of an attorney prior to attempting mediation. In fact, many people who use The Mediation Center are referred by an attorney. Attorneys can be a great asset to this process and are good resources, however, you do not need an attorney to mediate. If the parties wish, attorneys can be present at the mediation session although it is not required.
Mediators are neutral facilitators and it is not their role to give legal advice or to counsel the parties regarding the choices they make. You will be advised to consult an attorney to review the final agreement before signing it. If the legal system is involved in your dispute attorneys may be necessary to submit the parties’ mediated agreement to the court. The Mediation Center does no filing with the court.