Mediation FAQs

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How does mediation work?
In most cases, the parties and the mediator will initially be in the same room. At different times throughout the mediation process, the mediator may meet with each party privately while the other party waits outside. The private meetings allow the parties to share information with the mediator and come up with and test possible solutions and ideas with the mediator, before presenting them to the other party.

What does it mean that the mediation is confidential?
It means that whatever you say in mediation (whether it is when you and the mediator are talking alone, or when you and the other party are talking with the mediator), will not be repeated outside the mediation by the mediator. If the mediation is not successful and you go to court or another legal proceeding, the mediator cannot be subpoenaed or required to testify in court, nor can any/all records or paperwork from MMC be used in the court proceeding.

What does it mean that the mediation is voluntary?
It means that both parties must agree to mediate. If one party does not want to participate, then the mediation cannot occur. Either party may end the mediation at any time, for any reason.

What if I don’t want to settle in mediation?
That is your choice. The mediator will not tell you what to do. If you and the other party are unable to come up with an agreement in mediation, then you can take other action such as filing a claim in court (or return to court if you have already initiated a complaint) or take the matter to arbitration.

What are the advantages of mediation?
Mediation gives you and the other party the chance to resolve the dispute yourselves. Most people are more satisfied with resolutions that they develop themselves. In general, mediation is less costly and faster than arbitration or litigation.

Should I bring an attorney to the mediation?
You may bring your attorney to the mediation, but counsel is not required. If your attorney does not participate and a written agreement is created during the mediation process, you may take the agreement to your attorney for review, before it is finalized. You may also contact your attorney via telephone at any time during the mediation.

Should I bring witnesses to support my case?
No. There are no witnesses or judges at a mediation session. Generally, only the disputing parties and the mediator are present at the mediation. The purpose of the mediation is not to determine who is right or wrong. Instead, the purpose is for the parties to talk with each other and to work out a mutually acceptable agreement to settle the dispute.

How long does mediation last?
Typical mediation sessions can run from 1-3 hours, depending on the complexity of the issues involved.

Who are the mediators?
MMC is fortunate to work with professional and court-qualified mediators who volunteer their services for many of our programs. Our mediators have completed specialized training and have significant mediation experience.

Is mediation legally binding?
No. If one or both parties are unsatisfied with the outcome, or do not agree to a solution, then they are free to use the court system to resolve their dispute. Both parties have to reach and sign a written agreement for the process to be legally binding.