WHAT IS MEDIATION?
Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which a neutral third party helps individuals reach a voluntary agreement through "principled negotiation".
Negotiation is a basic means of getting what you want from others. "Principled negotiation" provides that:
The parties communicate directly and honestly about each of their respective goals and interests, rather than their positions.
Each party speaks for his or herself in a manner that is not disrespectful of the other.
The parties participate and negotiate in a way that represents their "best selves".
Mediation also has other specific features.
Voluntary — participation is freely chosen and can be terminated at any time by any participant.
Self-determined — decision-making authority always rests with the individuals.
Impartially led — mediators are neutral in facilitating conversation; any mediators' prior personal or professional relationship with either party must be specifically disclosed and accepted.
Confidential — information related to the content and process of mediation is kept confidential, except as required by law.
Based on Informed Consent – both parties understand the nature of the process and the implications of their decisions.
What do Mediators Do?
The mediator serves as:
Facilitator — keeping mediation on track and breaking stalemates.
Educator — providing information about conflict areas such as divorce and their impact on families, normal child development, family dynamics and family relationships.
Message carrier — sometimes serving as a "go-between".
Idea generator — offering creative options and brainstorming.
Translator — clarifying words and meanings to facilitate better understanding.
Agent of reality — helping to assess the workability of options.
Scribe — taking notes and writing down agreements.