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Office of Mediation and Arbitration - Mediation FAQ
Q: What are the benefits of mediation? 

A: At mediation you have a chance to present your ideas in an informal, private setting with the support and advice of your attorney, if you have one. It is a time for you to be heard and to listen to others.

In mediation you have a better opportunity to control the outcome of your dispute.

The mediator is impartial and trained to help you and the other party talk about your needs and differences so that you can work things out together.

Mediation may help you reach agreements that will let you get on with your life and possibly keep you out of court in the future.

By discussing your options in mediation you may discover choices you did not know you had.

Mediation may help improve communications and permit the parties to find better ways to deal with this conflict.

Costs associated with mediation may be lower than those experienced for prolonged litigation. 

Q: How do I prepare for mediation?

A: Mediation deals not only with the legal issues but also deals with underlying relational issues that are important to you. If you have an attorney, it is important to discuss what your reasonable expectations for an outcome would be should your case go to court. You can, therefore, compare your options at mediation with what would be available through litigation.

It is important to come to the mediation session with an open mind, ready to consider new options that may not have been raised previously. It is also important to be willing to share information with the other parties and to work together towards reaching an understanding that would be acceptable to each of you.

Q: Who are the mediators?

A: The mediators are individuals who have been trained or certified by the court based on their training and mediation experience. The courts maintain a list of available mediators.

Q: What happens during mediation?

A: At the start of a mediation session, the mediator will explain how mediation works and will answer your questions.

The mediator will ask each of you to state your views, express your feelings, and describe what you would like to have happen in your case. The mediator will then help you explore ways to resolve the matter in a way that is acceptable to each of you.

The mediator may ask to meet with you alone (and with your lawyer if you have one) so you can talk more comfortably. If you do have an attorney, you may take a break and talk to your attorney privately at any time.

If an agreement is reached, it will be put in writing and signed by all parties. Later, the agreement will be presented to the judge who will review it and then issue a court order approving the agreement.

If an agreement cannot be reached between the parties, or if one or more of the parties fails to follow through with the mediation session, the court will hear the case in a regular court hearing. Our experience is that even when a case is not resolved through mediation, often the parties have a better understanding of the underlying issues following a mediation session, and settlement may follow outside of the mediation session.

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