Virtual Mediation Available!
Virtual Mediation Available!
Mediation is a private, confidential process where a neutral third person called a mediator helps the parties discuss and try to resolve a dispute. The parties have the opportunity to describe the issues, discuss their interests, understandings, and feelings; provide each other with information and explore ideas for the resolution of the dispute. While courts can mandate that certain cases go to mediation, the process remains "voluntary" in that the parties are not required to come to agreement. Each party may be represented by legal counsel. The mediator does not have the power to make a decision for the parties, but can help the parties find a resolution that is mutually acceptable. The only people who can resolve the dispute in mediation are the parties themselves. Mediations are conducted with the parties together in a joint session. The mediator will describe how the process works, will explain the mediator’s role and will help establish ground rules and an agenda for the session. Each party then makes an uninterrupted opening statement. While the vast majority of a mediation occurs in a joint session, the mediator may occasionally "caucus" separately with each party. If the parties reach an agreement, the mediator will help reduce the agreement to a written agreement, which has the force of a binding contract.
Arbitration is a private process where disputing parties agree that one or several individuals can make a decision about the dispute after receiving evidence and hearing arguments.
Arbitration is different from mediation because the neutral arbitrator has the authority to make a decision about the dispute.
The arbitration process is similar to a trial in that the parties make opening statements and present evidence to the arbitrator. Compared to traditional trials, arbitration can usually be completed more quickly and is less formal. For example, often the parties do not have to follow state or federal rules of evidence and, in some cases, the arbitrator is not required to apply the governing law.
After the hearing, the arbitrator issues an award. Some awards simply announce the decision (a "bare bones" award), and others give reasons (a "reasoned" award).
The arbitration process may be either binding or non-binding. When arbitration is binding, the decision is final, can be enforced by a court, and can only be appealed on very narrow grounds. When arbitration is non-binding, the arbitrator's award is advisory and can be final only if accepted by the parties.
You are directly involved in negotiating your own binding agreement.
The cost is greatly reduced compared to pursuing the matter through the courts or arbitration.
No settlement can be imposed upon you (as happens in litigation and arbitration).
The proceedings are confidential, conducted in private, and you are in control of your own position.
You may have an attorney accompany and advise you on legal issues during mediation.
A mediated agreement can be reached more quickly than may be the case when pursuing the problem through the courts.
In mediation, you are allowed all the time necessary to state your case, unlike the time constraints inherent in a court case.
You have the services of an experienced person (the mediator) who can aid your negotiations, and assist in achieving a quick settlement.
The Mediator may be able to explore alternative solutions that have not been considered by the parties or are not possible or available through the courts.
It is possible to re-establish a positive relationship between the parties once the dispute is resolved.
If the Mediation is unsuccessful you have neither prejudiced nor sacrificed any legal rights nor delayed significantly any ultimate verdict by the legal process.
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