& Senior Citizens
Mediation is a way to resolve disputes. The people who have the disagreement decide whether to resolve it and how to resolve it. Mediation uses a third party, called a mediator, to help the people try to resolve the disagreement. The mediator helps them talk about the problem, understand why they are in disagreement, consider how they might resolve the dispute, and find solutions that help all in the disagreement. The mediator does not make decisions for the parties nor does the mediator give legal advice nor psychological counseling.
Mediation is private. There is no court reporter to take down what is said. Only those involved in the dispute attend mediation, along with the mediator.
What happens in mediation?
The mediator begins by explaining what mediation is and asking if anyone has any questions. The mediator then calls on each person, one at a time, to talk about the concerns that bring them to mediation. The attorney or the party may speak. The mediator may ask some clarifying questions and summarize. Then the mediator may ask additional questions of everyone. Once the mediator believes the matter has been discussed in sufficient detail, the mediator will ask everyone to focus on ways to resolve the dispute. The parties, with the mediator's help, will think of ideas and discuss whether they are feasible and helpful. The mediator may keep everyone in joint session for these discussions or may separate them for private discussions.
If an agreement is reached, the mediator will recite the terms to everyone and ask if they agree. If they do, the mediator will usually draft an agreement at the mediation and ask everyone to sign it. There may be additional documents that the lawyers need to prepare after the mediation is completed. In family cases, mediators usually write up the terms of the agreement and send those terms to the parties to review with their attorneys before signing.
The mediator may stop the mediation when in the opinion of the mediator,
no further purpose will be served in mediation. Even where no agreement
is reached, though, mediation can help to narrow the issues in dispute
or outline possible resolutions to consider or help the parties plan for
their next steps.
Another major advantage of mediation is control. Because all the parties to the disagreement must agree to any agreement reached in mediation, the parties retain control. No decision is forced on the parties. The parties are free to reject any resolutions suggested and to seek a trial or use other means available to them.
A third major advantage of mediation is the ability to design resolutions that fit the needs of the parties in disagreement. The more honest both sides are willing to be concerning what they need, the more creative the parties can be in designing a solution that meets their needs. A judge or jury may not have that creativity.
Mediation can help parties resolve disputes earlier. Resolving matters early saves time and money. Also mediation is less formal than court proceedings; many people find mediation less stressful.
What are the disadvantages of mediation?
Someone considering mediation should weigh the pros and cons. An attorney can help in deciding whether to mediate and if so, when. Many people believe that the risks are minor because you can always leave mediation and pursue whatever rights you had prior to starting mediation.
What matters are not good for mediation?
A lawyer can help you decide whether mediation is appropriation.
What if I need a lawyer?
Other sources of lawyers:
How do I find a mediator?
If you are not in the First Circuit or do not want to use a DRI mediator, you may find a mediator in these ways:
What does mediation cost?