What is Mediation?
Mediation is a non adversarial process in which the parties to a dispute are supported by a neutral third party (the mediator) in identifying the disputed issues, developing options, and seeking their own fair settlement. As a neutral party the mediator has no advisory or decision-making authority.
Why Choose Mediation?
When is mediation recommended?
You have not succeeded in settling a conflict on your own.
You want to take an active role in the decision-making process.
You want to address relevant underlying issues.
You and the other party are willing to seek assistance from a mediator.
You want the option of maintaining a relationship with the other party.
What happens in the mediation process?
Two mediators meet with all parties together to discuss the nature of the conflict. Often the mediators will then hold a meeting with each individual party to provide an opportunity for private discussions. Discussion may continue in private sessions or the parties may reconvene together, but throughout the process the mediators support the parties in moving from positions to areas of common interest, where joint problem-solving can occur. The mediators will bring closure through summarizing new information or progress that was made, and if any mutually acceptable solutions emerge they may be put into a written agreement.
What happens if there is an agreement or no agreement?
Agreement: It is signed by the parties and the mediators and a copy is given to each party and the Program. If an agreement is not fulfilled within the prescribed time frame, either party may request another session. An agreement reached in a court-referred case is signed by the parties and a Court Official and can be entered as a binding, enforceable order of the court if the parties so choose.
No Agreement: The parties retain their rights to pursue the matter through other channels. Not reaching agreement does not mean the mediation was a failure, as through the course of the mediation, parties often develop a clearer idea of their own interests while also gaining a better understanding of the interests of the other party.
Who are the mediators?
They are trained and experienced volunteers, who meet and exceed state requirements in training, evaluation and continuing education. They are committed to the ideals of neutrality, confidentiality, and that people have the ability to solve their own conflicts.
Where and when are mediations held?
Mediations are held at the Program office or various locations on the North Shore at convenient times for the parties. Cases referred by the court are usually held at the court. Most mediations are completed in one session lasting one to three hours. Additional sessions can be scheduled as needed.
Is there a fee for mediation?
There is a onetime administrative fee for all non-court cases and the session fee is determined on a sliding fee scale. There is no fee for court-referred cases.