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What to Expect During Your First Mediation

What to Expect During Your First Mediation

Why Mediation? 

At the end of the day, your business is an investment in yourself, your family and your future. You, as a business owner, must always seek its best interest and protect against any liability or potential lawsuit. With the above mentioned suggestions, you can protect one of your greatest assets and have peace of mind in the process.

So you have just agreed to mediation in a last first or last attempt to resolve a dispute, complaint or disagreement regarding your business, neighbor, employer or family member. You may also be anxious or even nervous about the next steps and what to expect in mediation.

What to Expect in Mediation

When going to your first mediation, be firm but willing to compromise for the sake of resolution. You can usually expect success in mediation - it will likely occur. 

Gather initial information - You can expect a mediator or a staff associate to contact you to gather initial information in regards to what led you and the other party/parties to meditation, describe the process, schedule the mediation appointment and answer any outstanding questions that you may still have. Anyone who may contact you prior to the mediation is also a neutral, just as the mediator will function during your appointment.

A neutral mediator - Remember that the role of the Mediator is to be completely objective and neutral when assisting with the facilitation of a resolve that is mutually beneficial for all parties involved. During your mediation, while it is important to discuss the history of the matter or vent about the situation, it is counterproductive to blame each other.

Opening statement/introductions - Most mediators begin by making an opening statement which usually includes housekeeping details and any ground rules important to your mediation. Some of the things that you may hear are introductions of parties or attorneys present, asking if parties present have the authority to make decisions, time constraints, bathroom locations, breaks, the use of telephones or other electronic devices, etc. Some Mediators may then describe the technique or method that will be used to resolve the matter in question.

Private caucuses - Some mediators keep the entire process of discussion in the same room while others choose to caucus where matters are discussed in a private setting. Caucuses have various purposes and may be used to gather more delicate or private facts, because a party may be reluctant to share a fact more confidential in front of all parties involved. While confidentiality can be assured and assumed, it does not mean that admitting a fact in caucus results in a bias or “upper-hand”. Though the time spent by the mediator in caucus may seem uneven, parties should assume that the mediator is in a discussion that will ultimately lead to a mutually beneficial resolution.

Resolution agreement - If the mediation is successful, the parties will reach some sort of resolution that is mutually beneficial or compromising and the mediator will draft a Resolution Agreement that needs to be signed by all parties. While additional details may be necessary to discuss in the future, the results of the mediation will be reduced to writing in the Resolution Agreement.

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