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What is mediation?

There are many definitions of the mediation process. Perhaps one of the most accurate, certainly the simplest, is that it is "assisted negotiations."

Mediation is one way for people to settle disputes or lawsuits outside of court. In mediation, an impartial third party - the mediator - helps the disputing parties look for a solution that works for them.

Mediators are not judges. They do not decide cases or impose settlements. The mediator's role is to help the people involved in a dispute to communicate and negotiate with each other in a constructive manner. They try to gain a better understanding of the interests of all parties, and to find a resolution based on common understanding and mutual agreement.

The purpose of mediation is not to determine who wins and who loses, but to develop creative solutions to disputes in a way that is not possible at a trial.

Advantages of mediation

•Mediation often leads to resolutions that are tailored to the needs of all parties.

•Cost-effective. You control the mediation cost, which is usually a fraction of the cost of a typical family/divorce case.

•Faster .

•Less stressful.

•Confidential. Your personal life is kept out of the court house where it could become public.

•Healthier for you and your family. Part of mediation is learning to communicate better and work at cooperative problem-solving, which is especially important when children are involved.

•You determine the schedule and issues.

•You make your own decisions in mediation that you'll be living with, not the judge, which leads to a more satisfactory outcome

•In court, many judges may hear your case. It is rare that one judge will hear your case from beginning to end.

•You have the flexibility in mediation of taking time to consider how a decision will affect your family long term. You can try out possible solutions before committing to a final settlement.

•Mediation is informal and more private .

•Parties in mediation may speak more openly than in court.

•You control the outcome in mediation, and because of this, agreements made in mediation typically work better than those negotiated in the courthouse hallway minutes before a trial.

•You can always go to court if mediation doesn't work to resolve all of the issues.

•Mediation can foster better communication which might help to reduce the number of issues that will be dealt with in court and therefore still help to lessen the costs.

Types of Mediation

There are many different types of mediation including family, divorce, estate, employment, personal injury, landlord/tenant, commercial/corporate, etc. Mediation can be a useful method of resolving these conflicts. Our family mediation centre deals with family law issues that can include custody, access, child and spousal support, division of property, sale of property, etc.

The Goal of Mediation

Mediation helps people resolve or handle issues arising out of the breakdown of their relationship/marriage by facilitating agreements about your children, your property and your financial support. For you to reach an agreement with the other person requires that you obtain her/his cooperation to find mutually agreeable solutions. Even if you and your spouse believe that all issues cannot be resolved, mediation can reduce the number of issues that would have to be dealt with in court. Mediation offers more creative ways to resolve issues. As you consider what you will say in your mediation, keep this goal in mind.

What Mediation is Not

Mediation is not debating. It does not require you to prove that you are right and the other person is wrong or convince her/him to give up what s/he thinks is important. It is not intended to have a win-lose outcome.

Mediation is not capable of changing anyone's personality or values.

Unlike the justice system, the mediation process is not intended to find fault, assign blame, or punish anyone.

Finally, mediation is not something people are likely to do successfully if they are mandated to participate in it against their will. It needs to be voluntary.

What Mediators Do

Mediators will play an impartial role as they attempt to help you resolve or better manage your dispute. They do not "take sides with either party." Their job is to assist you in understanding one another and in reaching agreements. To do this, they establish ground rules and ask questions (usually to one person at a time). They will help you identify the issues and interests in need of resolution. The mediators can help by slowing down the conversation, clarifying, and asking questions to promote understanding. Once issues and interests are identified, they will encourage you to brainstorm solutions. After the mediation, they will prepare a report that is provided to the parties reflecting what was agreed upon. The parties are then instructed to take the report to their lawyers who will then prepare an agreement.

Windsor Essex Mediation Centre

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