Mediation is a valuable opportunity for parties to a dispute to resolve their conflict on their own terms. The parties have maximum input into a settlement reached in mediation.
Once the matter is in Court the judge will decide what the resolution is with little to no input from either party. It is therefore important to take advantage of the opportunity mediation provides.
A significant factor in whether mediation is successful is the party’s preparation for the mediation conference. The parties should fully understand their position, and what they want to achieve at mediation. They should also make every effort to know and understand the opposing party’s position. However, knowing what you want should not become an unwillingness to compromise. All parties will give on some points and succeed on others, but the goal is to reach an overall compromise that all parties accept.
The role of the mediator is to serve as an impartial facilitator in the mediation process. In this role the mediator will ask many questions about your position to fully understand what you want, and will explore the strengths and weaknesses of your case with you so you can fully appreciate what you can expect as an outcome in the dispute.
All communication during the mediation is confidential. The parties are not permitted to bring anything said at mediation before the Court. The mediator can not be compelled to testify at any court proceedings in the case. This allows for a free and open discussion of all issues between or among the parties, and provides the best opportunity for resolution.
Ultimately the most important thing to remember is that the mediator is there to assist the parties in their negotiations, but the responsibility for resolving the dispute lies with the parties themselves. Keep an open mind. Mediation is a process of give and take that allows all participants the opportunity to have their issues addressed if they are willing to embrace the process.
Francis M. King, Esq.
*Francis M. King is an attorney and Florida Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator