What is Mediation?

Mediation is a process by which parties use a third-party, known as a mediator, to help them resolve a dispute. Some mediators meet with parties together and attempt to get them to agree to a settlement. Some mediators meet with the parties separately, helping the parties to exchange information back and forth, to achieve a settlement.

Mediation is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, also known as “ADR.” An important quality of mediation is that the parties maintain control of the outcome. Sometimes, however, parties have contracted, been ordered, or otherwise consented to meditation. In terms of resolving a dispute that may involve legal issues, mediation is one of the most informal and cost-effective ways to resolve a dispute.

The primary goal of mediation is for the parties to reach a voluntary settlement, which is then put into writing and can become an enforceable contract. Another goal of mediation can be to save money. If the parties to a dispute can resolve the dispute using mediation, they will save a significant amount time, money, and other resources if the mediation is successful.

In mediation, the parties decide when a dispute is resolved. If the parties can come to a resolution in mediation, typically, a mediator will help the parties to draft an agreement upon the completion of a successful mediation outlining the results of the mediation.

Although many lawyers can serve as a mediator, and may be experienced and trained mediators, it is not required that a mediator be a lawyer. Technically, any layperson can represent themselves as a mediator. Here, it is important that the parties choose a mediator that is an experienced and trained mediator, as there are no widely recognized state or federal requirements to serve as a mediator.

To find an experienced and trained mediator in Southern California, contact SmartLaw.


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